Americans in awe as total solar eclipse covers sun

Americans have been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a total solar eclipse on Monday (local time), as the moon starts to cover the sun.

It's the first total solar eclipse the US has experienced since 1979, and the US's first coast to coast solar eclipse since 1918.

Millions are expected to be watching, with massive traffic jams and accommodation fully booked out at the prime viewing spots.

"The show has just begun, people! What a gorgeous day! Isn't this great, people?" Jim Todd, a director at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, told the crowd as the eclipse began in Oregon.

There's a noticeable drop in temperature as the sun disappears. The darkness lasts for about two to three minutes.

Eclipse watchers are advised to wear special glasses and to avoid looking directly at the sun, to avoid eye damage.

The next coast-to-coast total solar eclipse will not be until 2045.

Social Media Presenter Aziz Al-Sa'afin wrapped the hype online while Otago Museum Director Ian Griffin spoke to Eric Young about the significance of the celestial event. 

Watch the video for the full interview.