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Eclipse dims the sun from coast to coast

Total eclipse
The eclipse as viewed from Bald Mountain, Idaho, photographed by Kevin Lisota. The purple coloring on the underside is an eclipse phenomenon known as Baily’s Beads, in which the craters on the moon’s surface allow partial sunlight to shine through. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

MADRAS, Ore. – The spectacle that skywatchers made years’ worth of plans to see finally happened today, darkening the sky during a total solar eclipse.

The moon began covering up the sun over Oregon just after 9 a.m. PT, with thousands of cameras equipped with solar filters trained on the sight.

The shadow of the moon streaked eastward from Oregon to the coast of South Carolina, delivering the first all-American total solar eclipse in 99 years.

The temperature in summery Madras, where thousands of eclipse-watchers gathered, cooled from 73 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit as the eclipse neared its climax.

Just before totality, sunlight waned as if someone was turning down a dimmer switch. A wave of darkness swept in from the west. Day turned into night, to the cheers of the Oregon Solarfest assembly at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Madras.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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