best eclipse period

Pictures: The solar eclipse had all of America gazing upwards this evening

“We have to start eating salad and be healthy if we want to make it till the next eclipse,” one observer said.

Trump Eclipse President Trump and his wife Melania gazing upwards at the solar eclipse. Andrew Harnik AP / PA Images Andrew Harnik AP / PA Images / PA Images

THIS EVENING, A solar eclipse plunged America momentarily into darkness.

With almost 12 million Americans living in the path in which the moon’s 113km-wide shadow fell – and some two-thirds of the country’s population living a day’s car journey away – a significant number of people were able to witness the event first-hand.

Eclipse Washington The bride and groom at a wedding ceremony in Washington watch the eclipse. Colin Mulvany AP / PA Images Colin Mulvany AP / PA Images / PA Images

Festivals, rooftop parties, weddings, camping trips and astronomy meet-ups popped up nationwide for what NASA expected to be the most heavily photographed and documented eclipse in modern times, thanks to the era of social media.

The last time the United States witnessed an eclipse of this significance was in 1918 and its path wasn’t hugely dissimilar to today’s.

Eclipse Nebraska Locals in Falls City, Nebraska. Nati Harnik AP / PA Images Nati Harnik AP / PA Images / PA Images

“It was incredibly beautiful. I am moved to tears,” said Heather Riser, a 54-year-old librarian from Virginia, sitting on a blanket in Charleston’s Waterfront Park in North Carolina where thousands had gathered on the grass to watch.

In Los Angeles, “oohs and aahs” emanated from the crowd of thousands of people gathered at the Griffith Observatory in the hills above the city as the partial eclipse began.

News: 2017 American Solar Eclipse Onlookers in Nashville, Tennessee. SIPA USA / PA Images SIPA USA / PA Images / PA Images

“This is a once in a lifetime event,” said 42-year-old Chad Briggs. “We have to start eating salad and be healthy if we want to make it till the next eclipse.”

Solar eclipses happen relatively frequently, and very few places on Earth haven’t experienced one in the past 1,000 years.

Eclipse California Crowds gather in Los Angeles. Richard Vogel AP / PA Images Richard Vogel AP / PA Images / PA Images

The next time a full eclipse, covering 100% of the sun, will be seen from Ireland, however, will be 23 September 2090, although even then it will only snip past the south west.

For millions of lucky stargazers today, it seems many would say it’d be worth the wait.

Eclipse Oregon Don Ryan AP / PA Images Don Ryan AP / PA Images / PA Images

With reporting from Nicky Ryan, and AFP.

WATCH: Check out this livestream of the solar eclipse

Read: The United States is about to experience the best eclipse in a lifetime… but how long does Ireland have to wait?

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