Columbia, SC-- For many, August 21, 2017 likely now is a day they will remember for the rest of their life.
Across the Midlands, in public venues and private homes, hundreds of thousands of people looked up in the sky to see a celestial spectacle
The weather wasn't perfect in all areas, as some saw light showers. But at 1:13 p.m., the partial solar eclipse began, as it began to get slowly darker.
And then 2:41:52 PM happened over the city of Columbia. Totality. When the moon fully covered the sun, a beautiful glow framed the image, flowing out.
It was a view of the sun we'd never seen before. And for some of us, may never see again.
Audible gasps could be heard from the crowds that assembled at Spirit Communications Park, the State Fairgrounds, and venues across the region.
Over at Riverbanks Zoo, News19 Chief Meterologist got choked up. He's studied weather and various atmospheric phenomena, and even he was overcome by what he saw.
We imagine many others felt the same way.
We want you to share your experiences. You can do that on our Facebook page, or on Twitter.
This photo gallery shows the best moments of the solar eclipse taken from our camera that had a special filter.
What is a Total Solar Eclipse?
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth. The moon appears to completely cover the disk of the sun. By blocking the sun's light, the moon casts a shadow that turns day into an eerie twilight here on Earth. Eclipses occur because of the special coincidence of the moon and the sun being the same size to our eyes. The sun is 400 times wider than the moon, but it is also 400 times farther away, so they appear to be the same size in the sky.
What Does 'Totality' Mean?
Totality is when the moon's shadow completely blocks the sun.
When you were watching, you saw the "diamond ring," a flash of light concentrated on one side. You'll next saw phenomenon known as "Bailey's beads," where little beads of light will form around the sun.
Related Link: Jim Gandy explains more about totality
At that moment, you'll saw the sun's solar atmosphere, which the naked eye can never see. You'll could see stars and the planets Venus and Mercury. If you're in a rural area, nocturnal animals might actually come out, and birds will stop chirping.
When is the Next Total Solar Eclipse?
The next total solar eclipse here in the U.S. will be on April 8, 2024, which will be visible from Texas to New England. More total eclipses in the U.S. will follow in 2044, 2045 and 2078. In other parts of the world, the next total solar eclipse will be visible in Chile and Argentina on July 2, 2019.
Doyle Rice, of USA TODAY contributed to this article
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