Native American elders led stargazers in prayer Monday as the sun vanished behind the moon at a ranch in Oregon, the first US state to experience a rare total eclipse that swept the continent coast-to-coast.
Time stood still as millions across the nation took in the celestial spectacle — unseen in a century — enjoying what some saw as a welcome moment of togetherness after weeks of national turmoil.
But the Great American Eclipse also had its share of quirky sideshows.
Here are a few:
Just don’t look
In the capital Washington, where the eclipse was partially visible, Donald Trump turned out to watch from the White House with his wife Melania and young son Barron — but the president appeared to have missed the memo on eclipse do’s and don’ts.
At one point, Trump was seen glancing skywards without protective eyewear — a big no-no, according to experts. “Don’t look,” an aide shouted to him.
The 45th US president later donned glasses but the scene prompted howls of derision.
“NASA: Don’t look! Media: Don’t look! Melania: Don’t look! Aides: Don’t look! My mom: Don’t look! Your mom: Don’t look! President Trump…” summed up the journalist Brandon Ambrosino.
Comedian Michael Moore later purported to read the president’s mind: “Dishonest, fake news media said don’t look at eclipse w/o glasses, so I did!”
The gift of Bonnie Tyler
She said she would do it, and do it she did.
As the arc of totality swept across the continent, Bonnie Tyler regaled a cruise ship audience with a live rendition of her “Total Eclipse of the Heart” as they were plunged into darkness by the awe-inspiring astronomical show.
The 1983 mega-hit became an unofficial anthem for the Great American Eclipse, belted out at bars and viewing parties across the nation (with varying degrees of seriousness).
Interviewing the Welsh pop singer about her signature song, CNN host John Nernan got down to the nitty-gritty questions.
“How do you think a total eclipse of the heart differs from a total eclipse of the sun?” he asked her. “Can you stare into a total eclipse of the heart without glasses?”
“That’s a good one,” she smiled back. “I will definitely be wearing my glasses later, but I’m sure that you can look into my heart. I wear it on my sleeve.”
Tyler topped off the interview with a few lines, a capella, of her signature hit, earning the following words of thanks from CNN’s Bernan: “Bonnie Tyler, you have given us more than we could ever have hoped for.”
Countdown to ‘goatality’
Total eclipses are well known to send birds swooping back to their nests, but as part of its wall-to-wall coverage — the Washington Post set out to test another wildlife-and-astronomy theory: do they make fainting goats faint?
It did so by livestreaming from a farm in Tennessee that rears the breed of livestock — known for freezing stiff and toppling over when panicked, and as such already the stars of a host of viral videos.
While millions sat glued to TV footage of the natural wonder unfolding in real-time, many more kept an amused eye on the Post’s tongue-in-cheek countdown to “goatality.”
Was the flock startled? Hard to tell since the screen turned pitch-black… but the question was eventually settled with a tweet from the paper.
“Update: no goats fainted.”