Total eclipses are caused when the moon moves directly between the sun and the earth, covering it completely to cast a shadow on earth.
Today Millions of People turned their eyes skyward to see the total solar eclipse, which dawn suddenly turned to darkness across the continent in the longest total solar eclipse this century will see.
Millions of others, fearing a bad omen, shuttered themselves indoors. Chinese launched fireworks and danced in Shanghai. And in India, a woman was crushed as thousands of viewers crowded the banks of the Ganges for a glimpse. Cloudy skies and rain damped the show in many areas, but villagers in the town of Varanasi, on the banks of the Ganges in India, got one of the best views. Thousands of Hindus took to the waters to cleanse their sins. The eclipse was seen there for 3 minutes and 48 seconds. Clouds obscured the sun when the eclipse began. But they parted in several Indian cities minutes before the total eclipse took place at 6:24 a.m. (0054 GMT; 8:54 p.m. EDT).
Starting off in India just after dawn, the eclipse was visible across a wide swath of Asia before moving over southern Japan and then off into the Pacific Ocean. In some parts of Asia, it lasted as long as 6 minutes and 39 seconds.
This total solar eclipse is the longest since July 11, 1991, when a total eclipse lasting 6 minutes, 53 seconds was visible from Hawaii to South America. There will not be a longer eclipse than Wednesday’s until 2132.