Millions of people in Mexico, the United States and Canada experienced a total solar eclipse on Monday. Such a celestial spectacle occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth and completely obscures the sun.

Starting over the Pacific, the umbra moved over northern Mexico over the course of the day, crossed the USA from Texas northeast to Maine, touched southeastern Canada and ended over the North Atlantic.

Applause and tears

In Mexico, thousands of tourists and residents, for example in the coastal city of Mazatlán on the Pacific, observed how the solar eclipse caused it to become largely dark for a few minutes. When the sky cleared again, there was applause and tears, as the Milenio television station reported. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also flew to Mazatlán to witness the event. He also held a press conference from there.

Millions of people in the USA had been preparing for the natural event for months and planning parties to watch the sky together. More than 30 million people live in the observation zone with major cities such as Dallas, Indianapolis, Buffalo and Montreal.

Numerous schools remained closed, hotels and holiday apartments were fully booked long in advance, and there was increased traffic. Large numbers of people gathered in parks, sports stadiums and attractions such as Niagara Falls. In metropolises outside the core zone – such as New York, Washington and Los Angeles – only a partial solar eclipse could be seen.

Altered behavior in animals

In many places clouds clouded the picture a little, but millions of people still watched the spectacle with cheers and applause. Many had purchased special glasses specifically for this purpose. During the temporary darkness it temporarily became noticeably cooler and, according to scientists and zoo employees, animals changed their behavior. According to media reports, numerous couples along the path of the umbra took advantage of the extraordinary event for a particularly memorable wedding day. The band Vampire Weekend held a special concert in Austin, Texas.

Scientists had been preparing for the event for months. The US space agency Nasa examined the solar eclipse using aircraft and balloons, among other things. According to NASA, the astronauts on board the International Space Station ISS were able to at least partially observe the spectacle – and also see the shadow of the moon on Earth.

Next total solar eclipse in September 2081

The last total solar eclipse to date was seen from the USA in 2017, from Mexico in 1991 and from Canada in 1979. The next one for the USA and Canada is not announced until 2044, and for Mexico not until 2052.

The astronomical spectacle could not be observed from Europe. Only in the western outskirts – such as parts of Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Great Britain as well as Iceland – was there a partial solar eclipse to marvel at. The last time a total solar eclipse was seen in Germany was in August 1999, and the next one will follow in September 2081.