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Total solar eclipse hits Mexico, US, Canada

A frenzy of eclipse excitement swept across North America on Monday, captivating tens of millions of people with a mesmerizing celestial display that presented rare opportunities for both commerce and science, not to mention an excuse for celebration.

The Moon’s shadow cast the Pacific coast of Mexico into complete darkness at 11:07 am local time (1807 GMT), racing across the United States at supersonic speed before retreating over Canada’s Atlantic coast just under an hour and a half later. Along the eclipse’s “path of totality,” where the Moon completely obscured the Sun for a few precious minutes, festivals, viewing parties, and even mass weddings were organized — weather permitting, of course, as cloud cover dampened parts of Texas.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador personally witnessed the eclipse from Mazatlan in Sinaloa, describing the event as a “very beautiful, unforgettable day.” Meanwhile, thousands gathered in Mexico City, just outside the path of totality, seizing the opportunity presented by Earth and nature, as expressed by 29-year-old artist Mariana Juarez.

This year’s path of totality stretched 115 miles (185 kilometers) wide, encompassing nearly 32 million Americans, with an additional 150 million residing within 200 miles of the strip. However, the next total solar eclipse visible from a large part of North America won’t occur until 2044.

Businesses eagerly capitalized on the excitement with special events, while accommodations in prime viewing locations were fully booked months in advance. At Stonehenge II park in Ingram, Texas, eclipse watchers from around the world gathered, cheering and shouting as totality struck.

In Arkansas, over 300 couples reportedly prepared to exchange vows at the “A Total Eclipse of the Heart” mass wedding ceremony in Russellville. Even Delta Airlines got in on the action with two special flights along the eclipse path, and many schools within the zone closed for the day to allow students to witness this extraordinary event.

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