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The eclipse started at 7pm BST about 440 miles south-east of
Tonga, and reached Easter Island by 9.11pm BST last night - just as the
World Cup Final was nearing its climax.
Total darkness: A halo of light is seen from Easter Island as the sun is covered by the moon during the eclipse
People watch the solar eclipse on in Papeete, on the Pacific island of Tahiti
The population of the World Heritage island doubled to about 8,000 for the event.
Onlookers who gathered on Easter Island sang,
danced and played music as they waited for the eclipse to begin while
scientists, researchers, photographers made their final preparations for
experiments and filming.
Cloudy weather before the eclipse sparked fears that the rare sight was going to be obscured from view.
But just before the eclipse the clouds parted and gave the thousands of tourists and astronomers the show they had come all that way to enjoy.
As the Moon's shadow began to creep across
the face of the Sun at 12.40PM the crowd burst into a spontaneous round
solar eclipse began its 6,800 mile arc over the Pacific on Sunday,
plunging remote islands into darkness in a heavenly display before
climaxing on Easter Island.
'It was like being in the stadium at night with artificial light. It was like being in a dark room with a 10-watt bulb,' local official Francisco Haoa told reporters.
'It started with a shadow. The skies were perfectly blue, with lots of wind which chased away the clouds. Everyone applauded.'
Eight-year-old Hinanu said: 'It was like the Sun was smiling. The Sun seemed like a horizontal crescent, then the Moon covered up the bottom of the Sun which reappeared again as a crescent.'
Moais - stone statues of the Rapa Nui culture - during the solar eclipse on Easter Island
Tourists watch in awe as the solar eclipse gets underway on Easter Island, 3700 km off the Chilean coast in the Pacific Ocean
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