Americans gazed in wonder through telescopes, cameras and disposable protective glasses as the moon began blotting out the sun in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the US from coast to coast in nearly a century.

At Tuesday NZ Time the solar eclipse was expected 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 projected line of shadow created when the sun is completely obscured.

The projected path of totality was 96 to 113km wide, running diagonally across the continent from Oregon to South Carolina, with darkness lasting only about two to three minutes in any one spot.

And with phenomena comes memes, and Americans did a great job at it:

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