Total solar eclipse races across North America as Ireland sees snippet of the action too

Eclipse mania grips North America as partial solar event visible in Ireland on Monday evening

A chilly, midday darkness fell across North America on Monday as a total solar eclipse raced across the Continent, thrilling those lucky enough to see the spectacle through clear skies.

Eclipse mania gripped all of Mexico, the US and Canada, as the moon swept in front of the sun, blotting out daylight.

The moon started to cover up the sun as a partial eclipse began over the south Pacific during the afternoon.

Despite the downpours and gloomy cloud cover, enthusiastic Irish sky-watchers got to see a snippet of the action, too.


The heavenly event began just before 8pm and, according to Astronomy Ireland, was witnessed by enthusiasts from Co Cork to Co Donegal.

“There were breaks in the clouds. Just like I predicted,” said Astronomy Ireland’s chairman David Moore. “They weren’t huge, the pictures I have seen are mostly clouds but then the sun pops out from a tiny gap.”

Satellite imagery showed the west coast was always likely to have the best conditions while observers in north Co Dublin, including Mr Moore, were doused in unrelenting rain for the four-and-a-half minute duration.

“[At] 7.55pm the first bite was taken out of the sun no matter where you were on the island,” Mr Moore said.

Earlier today, Astronomy Ireland chairman David Moore said people across Ireland would see a “chunk” taken out of the sun as the moon moves across it.

“And that chunk will increase in size until about – on the east coast a third [is covered], and on the west coast, half of the moon is covering the sun. But at that point, the sun sets.”

The eclipse’s path of totality stretched from Mazatlan, Mexico to Newfoundland. Revellers were engulfed in darkness at state parks, on city rooftops and in small towns.

Most of those in North America, but not in the direct path, still witnessed a partial eclipse, with the moon transforming the sun into a fiery crescent.

Totality’s first stop on land cast Mazatlan’s sparkling beaches into darkness before continuing northeast toward Eagle Pass, Texas, one its first stops in the US.

Millions along a narrow corridor in North America from Mexico’s Pacific coast to eastern Canada were hoping for clouds to clear as they eagerly wait for totality to reach their location.

Totality lasted up to four minutes and 28 seconds in certain spots.

Cheers broke out along the beach in the resort city of Mazatlan as the moon began to pass over the sun.

Hundreds in a beachside park had passed the time readying their equipment and listening to a youth orchestra play Star Wars songs while a large screen projected images of Princess Leia behind them.

Luz Elena Aguillon de la O sat in the grass with a group of 14 family and friends who had gathered from Mexico City, Guanajuato and Mazatlan to take in the spectacle.

“Happy to be here with family, friends sharing a singular, unrepeatable event that the universe and nature give us,” she said.

US President Joe Biden posted a brief video on X, formerly Twitter, to encourage Americans to wear eye protection when viewing the eclipse – in a subtle dig at his predecessor and 2024 rival, former president Donald Trump.

“Folks, enjoy the eclipse, but play it safe, don’t be silly,” Mr Biden said in a video showing him donning eclipse glasses and looking skyward from the balcony outside the Blue Room of the White House.

That is the spot where Mr Trump glanced up toward the sun without eye protection in 2017.

It was the continent’s biggest eclipse audience ever, with a couple hundred million people living in or near the shadow’s path. – AP

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times