eclipse downtown (Twitter)

Savanna Catoe of Columbia, South Carolina is in Charleston for the solar eclipse. Leroy Burnell/Staff

From confused animals at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia to timid viewers in North Charleston as clouds and lightning approached the Lowcountry, there were a mixed bag of experiences of totality across the Lowcountry and the state.

Here's what our newsroom reported back:

90-minutes across America

Glenn Smith

Tony Bartelme 

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A partial solar eclipse appears over the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in New York, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

We knew where it would go, this moon shadow. Across America. Oregon to Charleston in about 90 minutes. A total eclipse of the sun.

For a few moments, it brought millions of people together. People looking skyward, pointing skyward, looking around at the darkness and at one another.

The suddenness of totality was startling, perhaps because the partial eclipse before and after took longer, in this case more than an hour. And then it happened: Darkness fell in an abrupt and powerful way. Birds stopped chirping. Bugs stopped making noise. And, along the shadow's path, from coast to coast, cheers and oohs erupted, sounds of memories being made.

(Read more.) 

Downtown Charleston (before and during)

Glenn Smith

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The crowd at the Battery watched the eclipse as it passed over Charleston Monday August 21,2017. Leroy Burnell/Staff

"Look at it, mom," a child shouted as a family made its way down Meeting Street around 2 p.m.

"Ah, I’ll just watch it later online," the mother said.

Dozens of people stumbled about trying to move along the sidewalks with their heads tilted to the heavens, clutching their cardboard solar glasses to their heads.

A trio of College of Charleston students chatted on the steps of a gymnasium facility, oblivious to the antics. A man hustled by with a pizza box, set on getting wherever he was headed.

Hundreds, however, packed Marion Square, lying on blankets with their heads positioned skyward. An occasional gasp or cheer rolled through the crowd when the clouds parted and revealed the solar display overhead.

Isle of Palms

Andrew Knapp

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A small plane passes under the partially eclipsed sun Monday in Isle of Palms. Andrew Knapp/Staff

Lightning flashed across cloudy skies during Monday's solar eclipse, but the people jammed on the beach were cheering.

For the first time in hours, the sun had found a patch of blue sky minutes before the moon eased between it and the thousands who had waited anxiously for this moment.

They were not disappointed.

(Read more.)

The Bend - North Charleston

Kalyn Oyer

Brooks Brunson

A "Total Eclipse Charleston" celebration happened at the recently opened 17-acre outdoor venue The Bend along the Ashley River in North Charleston.

23 Skidoo, a Grammy Award-winning kids band, performed while attendees danced in anticipation.

People came from all over to experience the free event. 

Just before totality, an event worker announced that a child had gone missing. She was found just before the sky went dark.

(Read more.)

College of Charleston - NASA

Bo Petersen

The whooping students quieted. The NASA broadcasters just let the cameras run. Laser physicist Barry Coyle got goosebumps.

It was happening right at the moment that his laser's measurements indicated it would. The child in him couldn't help it.

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College of Charleston students cheer as NASA broadcasts live on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. Michael Pronzato/ Staff

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Nasa senior communications official Dwayne Brown talks on air as College of Charleston students cheer during the broadcast on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. Michael Pronzato/ Staff

"Wow," he said in a quad at the College of Charleston.

Above him, some 240,000 miles away, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter circled the moon, streaming measurements made with a laser that Coyle's lab had built — measurements so fine they can map the moon down to centimeters.

Folly Beach 

Prentiss Findlay 

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Alex Tocco sings and plays his  guitar while welcoming the  eclipse at  Folly Beach. Prentiss Findlay/staff

Visitors experienced "some weird science fiction movie" as the eclipse hovered above.

Surfers and swimmers took to the ocean to experience the celestial event from the sea. Others sat in the surf with their faces turned skyward.

Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia 

Maya Prabhu

Most fascinating to scientist Adam Hartstone-Rose were the siamang apes at the Riverbanks Zoo.

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Attendees at Riverbanks Zoo take a peek at the sun as the eclipse begins in Columbia. Maya T. Prabhu/Staff

They made their unease known with loud calls in the moments leading up to the eclipse. But once the sun was gone, they went quiet.

Hartstone-Rose said he didn't believe it was a behavior that had ever been documented before.

(Read more)

Palmetto Scholars Academy - North Charleston

Paul Bowers

The sterile tang of two enormous latex balloons mingled with the sweet smell of ozone, precursor to a summer storm. The wind picked up, and thunder cracked over the treeline.

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Students from Palmetto Scholars Academy prepare to launch a pair of high-altitude balloons at the Moncks Corner Regional Recreational Complex on the day of a total solar eclipse, Mon. Aug. 21, 2017. Paul Bowers/Staff

Conditions were less than ideal here for launching a balloon into the stratosphere.

But middle and high school students from Palmetto Scholars Academy, a statewide charter school for gifted and talented students in North Charleston, had rehearsed the launch 10 times over the summer. Two students even traveled to NASA balloon-launch training at Montana State University last summer.

(Read more.)

Sumter National Forest

Jamie Lovegrove

The partial solar eclipse crossed into South Carolina at 1:07 p.m. Monday with families in the Sumter National Forest at the state's northwest border with Georgia slipping on their eclipse glasses to gaze at the slowly developing phenomenon.

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Robert Hamrick (left) of Athens, Ga., has been waiting for Monday's eclipse for 18 years. He was among to first to see it in South Carolina at the Sumter National Forest in Oconee County with with his son, Damien (right).

Just a few clouds dotted the sky in Oconee County, none near the path of the disappearing sun. Campers, some of whom had taken their place day's in advance to be among the very first people in South Carolina to witness the total solar eclipse, emerged from their tents and cars to get a look at the much-anticipated event.  

(Read more)

Columbia Statehouse grounds

Andrew Brown

The steps of the South Carolina Statehouse began to fill up hours before people's eyes turned to the sky.

People reserved what shade they could find on the statehouse grounds. Others piled around the stone monuments.

(Read more)

Awendaw, McClellanville - Cape Romain

David Quick

The total solar eclipse Monday drew arguably the largest numbers of people to the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, Francis Marion National Forest and area small towns in their history.

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Andy Miller of Fairfax, Va., peers at the partial solar eclipse phase through a telescope from the shoreline along Jeremy Creek in McClellanville. David Quick/Staff

People from around the nation and world started arriving at public facilities — Garris boat landing, Sewee Visitor and Environmental Education Center and Buck Hall campground — before dawn. Largely because of limitations on septic systems, parking was limited. Lots filled up by 8:30 a.m.

(Read more.) 

Downtown Charleston (after)

Angie Jackson

Totality had ended, but alcohol and blaring pop music fueled an eclipse party well into the afternoon hours Monday outside Fleet Landing restaurant in Charleston. 

Daniela Luna danced with her husband in the parking lot while others played cornhole and drank beer. The couple, from Durham, N.C., spent the day at the party and said the crowd amplified their eclipse viewing experience. 

“Everyone was all together, cheering. It felt nice,” Luna said. 

(Read more.) 

 

Follow Brooks Brunson on Twitter @readthebrooks or ​reach her at 843-937-5433.

Engagement Editor

Brooks Brunson has served as The Post and Courier's Engagement Editor since May 2018. She started at P&C in 2014 and has held several positions in the newsroom since, briefly leaving in 2017 for a stint as a Digital Editor with The Virginian-Pilot.