Tuesday Briefing: A Total Solar Eclipse

Spectators gasped in Mazatlán, Mexico.Credit…Meghan Dhaliwal for The New York Times

The eclipse brought daytime darkness to North America

Millions of people across North America gathered outside yesterday to behold the disorienting, disquieting wonder of darkness in the daytime.

About 32 million people live along the eclipse’s path, which stretched from central and northern Mexico through the U.S. and across pockets of eastern Canada. Countless others drove to view it, sending an economic boost through some sleepier parts of the U.S.

As the silvery glow of the corona materialized, the temperature dropped. At some watch parties, the celestial show was greeted with cheers and applause. (I watched in a park in Brooklyn where thousands of people had gathered. When the sun was most covered, many began cheering.)

The consensus among eclipse veterans watching along the Mississippi River was that it was a superior event. “It was definitely darker than last time,” said Johnathon Bish, who saw the 2017 total eclipse from Frederick, Mo. “A completely different experience.”

The solar eclipse in Russellville, Arkansas.Credit…Alex Kent for The New York Times

In Houlton, Maine, a town in the path of totality, the eclipse brought years of planning and waiting to breathtaking fulfillment. As the sun darkened, the crowd quieted and couples wrapped their arms around each others’ shoulders. Time seemed to stop for three minutes, and then, too soon, sunlight flared. “I would pay a million dollars to see that again,” said Sebastian Pelletier, 11, a Houlton resident.

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