Great American Eclipse lives up to the hype

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Americans got a glimpse of the sun being eclipsed by the moon Monday afternoon. For people in portions of 14 states from the West Coast to the East Coast, there was an opportunity to see a rare total solar eclipse, as long as the weather cooperated.

Clouds and scattered rain upset some Mid-Southerners who didn't get a great look at the celestial event. However, the majority of the Mid-South was able to see the moon eclipse 94 percent of the sun.

The moon blocked a portion of the sun for just over four hours across parts of the U.S., beginning in Oregon at 11:05 a.m. CST and ending on the Carolina coast at 3:09 p.m.

NASA said the longest duration for the total eclipse was near Carbondale, IL, where the sun was completely covered for two minutes and 40 seconds.

In the Mid-South, the eclipse started around 11:50 a.m., peaked at 1:22 p.m., and ended around 3 p.m.

One of the largest crowds in Memphis gathered at Shelby Farms Park.

"It's nuts! I'm glad we got here as early as we could, because traffic is crazy," Rachel Williams said about the crowds at Shelby Farms.

Thousands of people, including WMC Action News 5 Chief Meteorologist Ron Childers and Meteorologist Andrew Kozak turned out to enjoy the show.

"I think its really interesting and something that I'll always remember," 8th grader Drake Cook said.

Many students in the Mid-South got a break from classes to take in the rare event.

Michael Buggs, 9, spent the day with his mom at Pink Palace Museum.

He joined hundreds of others peering through specially designed classes and learning about how our solar system works.

This was the first total solar eclipse viewable from the continental U.S. since 1979, and the first coast-to-coast in 99 years. A 1991 eclipse could be seen in clear weather from Hawaii.

The next solar eclipse in America will take place in 2024. That eclipse will pass through Little Rock, Arkansas, and the Missouri Bootheel.

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