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34 photos that show the wonder of solar eclipses around the world

Don’t worry about your nerdy eclipse glasses. These people didn’t.

Lancashire, England 1927
Fox Photos/Getty Images

The moment the moon covers the sun in a total solar eclipse, everything goes silent. Then, “you hear people saying: ‘Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,’ and they just say it for three minutes,” says Fred Espenak, an astrophysicist who has been to 27 total solar eclipses. “Others are totally speechless. Some people might even be praying. Others, just tears of joy running down their cheek.”

Huge crowds are expected for the total solar eclipse that will cut a path across the United States on August 21, and for many, it’s sure to be a powerful communal experience. “For a brief minute, everybody is doing the same thing at the same time,” Rhonda Coleman, an eclipse chaser from Bend, Oregon says. “It makes you feel a part of the Earth. It makes you feel a part of the cosmos. It makes you feel a part of every single person you're standing there with. Just for a brief time, we're not separate, we're all the same.”

People have been observing eclipses together for as long as humans have been on Earth. They occur about once every 18 months, and can pass through any country on Earth.

Below, find some of our favorite photos of people around the world, donning protective eyewear, looking through pinhole projections, wearing ridiculous boxes, or gazing through protective film. (Though note: X-ray or camera film is not sufficiently dark to completely protect your eyes.)

President and Mrs. Coolidge, White House, Washington, DC, 1925
Library of Congress
London, England, 1927.
Kirby/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
Maywood, Illinois, 1963.
Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Paris, France, 1959.
Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Agra, India, 1995.
Robert Nickelsberg/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
Varanasi, India, 2009.
Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images
Giza, Egypt, 2015.
Mohamed Hossam/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
France, 1999.
Yves Forestier/Sygma via Getty Images
Karachi, Pakistan, 2008.
Rizwan Tabassum/AFP/Getty Images
South central Kenya, 2010.
Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
Easter Island, 2010.
Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images
Edinburgh, Scotland, 1999.
Glenn Campbell/Getty Images
Ferry on the English Channel, 1999.
Colin Davey/Getty Images
Bangkok, Thailand, 2015.
Wasawat Lukharang/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Palembang, Sumatra, Indonesia, 2016.
Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images
Isfahan, Iran, 1999.
Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images
Nice, France, 2015.
Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images
Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 2016.
Suryo Wibowo/AFP/Getty Images
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2016.
Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images
Isalo National Park, Madagascar, 2001.
Francois Lochon/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Palembang, Sumatra, Indonesia, 2016.
Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images
Kasteloriso Island, Greece, 2006.
Milos Bicanski/ Getty Images
Galo, Libya, 2006.
Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images
Libreville, Gabon, 2013.
Steve Jordan/AFP/Getty Images
Dhaka, Bangladesh, 1995.
Mufty Munir/AFP/Getty Images
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2016.
Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images
Madrid, Spain, 2005.
Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images
Saint-Louis, La Reunion, 2016.
Richard Bouhet/AFP/Getty Images
Saarbrücken, Germany, 2015.
Becker & Bredel/Ullstein Bild via Getty Images
Aceh, Indonesia, 2016.
Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP/Getty Images
London, United Kingdom, 2015.
Rob Stothard/Getty Images
Trivandrum, India, 2010.
EyesWideOpen/Getty Images
North Sumatra, Indonesia, 2016.
Sijori Images/Barcroft Media/Getty Images
Santa Monica, California, 2002.
Mike Nelson/AFP/Getty Images

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