22/08/2017 3:53 AM AEST | Updated 22/08/2017 7:45 AM AEST

North America's Gaze Turns To The Heavens For Solar Eclipse

DENVER ― People across North America finally got to view the highly anticipated total solar eclipse on Monday. 

The event, described by one scientist as “the most spectacular thing that anybody has ever seen,” began crossing 14 states on a path from Oregon to South Carolina on Monday morning. Along that “path of totality,” viewers have been able to view the moon completely covering the sun.

Observers outside the path of totality have been able to see a partial solar eclipse, protecting their eyes with highly sought-after special glasses

In the Sloan’s Lake neighborhood of Denver, people gathered under a cloudless blue sky to watch the moon slowly obstruct the sun, eventually blocking just above 92 percent of it. 

Jordan Van Wyck, 30, called the spectacle “surreal.” He and his friends wondered what solar eclipses might look like on a planet with multiple moons.

Ryan Genoble/HuffPost
Jordan Van Wyck, 30, at center, described the spectacle in Denver as "surreal."

This is the first total eclipse viewable from the lower 48 states since February 1979. It will be the first total solar eclipse in 99 years to sweep from coast to coast.

Viewing events were held across the country, including at the White House where President Donald Trump stood on the Truman Balcony. “Don’t look!” a voice from the crowd bellowed as Trump briefly looked up at the partial eclipse without protective glasses.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump and Melania Trump watch the solar eclipse from the White House.

In Washington, D.C., the moon covered about 81 percent of the sun in the afternoon. 

During totality ― the few minutes when the moon completely obscures the sun ― the sky fades to black. A video shared by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Monday shows what that wave of darkness looks like from space:

See more photos below of the event as seen from across the U.S.

Sebastian Murdock/HuffPost
The solar eclipse as seen from South Carolina.
Brian Snyder/Reuters
Guests watch the final moments before the total eclipse at the football stadium at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois.
Mike Blake/Reuters
The eclipse as viewed from Depoe Bay, Oregon.
Mike Blake/Reuters
The sky during the solar eclipse as seen from Depoe Bay, Oregon.
Jason Redmond/Reuters
Ken Spencer, right, of Buckeye, Arizona, assists people as they look at the sun through a solar filter-equipped telescope at the Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience in Madras, Oregon.
Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images
The moon is seen passing in front of the sun from Ross Lake, Northern Cascades National Park in Washington.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
A young spectator looks skyward during a partial eclipse of the sun at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, New York.