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Photo gallery: Stunning images of the 2017 solar eclipse

Americans gazed in wonder through telescopes, cameras and disposable protective glasses Monday as the moon blotted out the midday sun in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. from coast to coast in nearly a century.

It promised to be the most observed and photographed eclipse in history, with millions staking out prime viewing spots and settling into lawn chairs to watch, especially along the path of totality — the line of shadow created when the sun is completely obscured.

The shadow — a corridor just 60 to 70 miles wide — came ashore in Oregon and then began racing diagonally across the continent to South Carolina, with darkness lasting only about two to three minutes in any one spot.

"The show has just begun, people! What a gorgeous day! Isn't this great, people?" Jim Todd, a director at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, told a crowd of thousands at an amphitheater in Salem, Oregon, as the moon seemed to take an ever-bigger bite out of the sun and temperature soon dropped noticeably.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Isabella Jackson, 12, from Washington D.C., borrows a pair of glasses from some new friends on the beach as she takes a peak at the eclipse while vacationing at St. Petersburg Beach on Monday afternoon. "It was super cool," Jackson said.

Photo by Dale McManus

An image of the crescent sun with the moon blocking nearly 80 percent of it is visible from Vinoy Park on Monday afternoon in St. Petersburg.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

High School students at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg gaze at the solar eclipse with special glasses at Haskell Field on Monday. The glasses were provided to each student by the school.

MONICA HERNDON | Times

Simon Viamonte, 7, watches the sun during a solar eclipse party on Monday at the Museum of Science and Industry, in Tampa. Tampa experienced a partial eclipse. MOSI will reopen after renovations on Nov. 18.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Jayda Hebert, front center, 11, uses her protective glasses to watch the solar eclipse along with her cousin, Judah Adams, back left, 11, and her brother Jake Hebert, right, 9, while with their family at St. Petersburg Beach Monday afternoon. "We're skipping school for the eclipse," her mom, Sarah Hebert said. Hebert was with her cousins and brothers are all homeschooled.

MONICA HERNDON | Times

Taylor Sullivan, 6, of Tampa watches the sun during a solar eclipse party on Monday at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. water as she uses her protective glasses to watch the solar eclipse while visiting St. Pete Beach with her family Monday.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Jayda Hebert, 11, lies in the shallow water as she uses her protective glasses to watch the solar eclipse while visiting St. Pete Beach with her family Monday.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

Preschoolers Paxson Evans, left, 4, and Ben Tatlebaum, 5, both of St. Petersburg, view the solar eclipse on Monday through the masks made in Abbie Hahn's class at the Shorecrest.

MONICA HERNDON | Times

Christian Sullivan, 9, of Tampa, watches the sun during a solar eclipse party on Monday at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa.

MONICA HERNDON | Times

Kristina Butera, center, and her daughter Sophia, 8, both of Valrico, watch the sun through eclipse viewing glasses during a solar eclipse party on Monday at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa.

Win McNamee Getty Images

Brothers Chris and Gabe Fabiano watch the solar eclipse on the beach Monday on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Millions of people are expected to watch as the eclipse cuts a path of totality 70 miles wide across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Using special glasses, people attempt to catch a brief glimpse of the solar eclipse on Monday in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Myrtle Beach was supposed to see 99 percent coverage of the sun by the moon but heavy cloud cover prevented people from seeing the moment of most coverage.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

People watch the solar eclipse at Saluki Stadium on the campus of Southern Illinois University on August 21, 2017 in Carbondale, Illinois. Although much of it was covered by a cloud, with approximately 2 minutes 40 seconds of totality the area in Southern Illinois experienced the longest duration of totality during the eclipse.

Matt McClain | Washington Post

Adam Jeffers of Ireland gets his camera ready to photograph the Geclipse as people gather for a total eclipse viewing party at MUSC Health Stadium in Charleston, S.C., on Monday.

Ted Warren | Associated Press

The moon covers the sun during a total eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, near Redmond, Ore.

Don Ryan | Associated Press

The moon almost totally eclipses the sun during a near total solar eclipse as seen from Salem, Ore., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.

Ted S. Warren | Associated Press 

The moon covers the sun during a total eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, near Redmond, Ore. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Bill Ingalls | NASA via AP

The moon is seen passing in front of the sun during a solar eclipse from Ross Lake, Northern Cascades National Park, in Washington on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.The moon covers the sun during a total eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, near Redmond, Ore.

Joel Kowsky | NASA via Getty Images

In this NASA handout, a composite image, made from seven frames, shows the International Space Station, with a crew of six onboard, as it transits the Sun at roughly 5 miles per second during a partial solar eclipse, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 near Banner, Wyoming.

Andrew Harnik | Associated Press

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump wear protective glasses as they view the solar eclipse, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, at the White House in Washington.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

A composite photo of the stages of a solar eclipse as viewed from South Mike Sedar Park on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 in Casper, Wyoming.

Seth Wenig | Associated Press

A partial solar eclipse appears over the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in New York, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.

Jeff Roberson | Associated Press

In this multiple exposure photograph, the phases of a partial solar eclipse are seen over the Gateway Arch on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, in St. Louis. The Gateway Arch was just a few miles outside of the path of totality.

Charles Krupa | Associated Press

A partial solar eclipse passes over the golden grasshopper weathervane atop historic Faneuil Hall on a cloudy afternoon in Boston, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.

            

Mark Ylen/Albany Democrat-Herald via AP

     

Julian Ledger, of Los Angeles, photographs the solar eclipse while his wife Shayde Ledger and friend Annemarie Penny, right dance during totality at the Albany Regional Airport in Albany, Ore., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.

            

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

     

This photo shows solar flare as the sun emerges from a total eclipse by the moon Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, near Redmond, Ore.

            

AP Photo/Rachel La Corte

     

Jasmine Shepherd, at window, and her brother Joshua, take photos from their seats on a special eclipse chaser flight before the flight intercepted a total solar eclipse, on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, over the Pacific Ocean. Passengers witnessed totality from over the ocean.

            

Bill Serne

     

At Clemson University, a solar eclipse viewed near the science building and the library.

            

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

     

A couple use a viewing box during the solar eclipse at 'Top of the Rock' observatory at Rockefeller Center, August 21, 2017 in New York City. While New York City is not in the path of totality for the solar eclipse, around 72 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon during the peak time of the partial eclipse.

            

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

     

People view the solar eclipse at 'Top of the Rock' observatory at Rockefeller Center, August 21, 2017 in New York City. While New York City is not in the path of totality for the solar eclipse, around 72 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon during the peak time of the partial eclipse.

            

Travis Dove/The New York Times

     

A group reacts during the solar eclipse in Folly Beach, S.C., Aug. 21, 2017. For the first time since 1918, a solar eclipse traveled across the entire U.S. on Monday. Millions of people ventured to a spot on the path of totality hoping to catch a glimpse of the rare celestial event.

            

LARA CERRI | Times

     

The eclipse created crescent shapes through the laurel oak tree leaves on the sidewalk at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg, FL Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.

            

JIM DAMASKE | Times

     

The partial solar eclipse is seen over downtown St. Pete. Monday afternoon 8/21/2017.

Photo gallery: Stunning images of the 2017 solar eclipse 08/21/17 [Last modified: Monday, August 21, 2017 8:14pm]
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