A spectacularly rare solar eclipse has projected an 11,000 kilometre arc over the Pacific, thrusting the mysterious Easter Island into near total darkness.
At precisely 4:15am AEST, approximately 700 kilometres south-east of Tonga, the lunar umbra (moon’s shadow) completely covered the sun before continuing in an arc towards the east, climaxing at Easter Island at 6:11 AEST.
The culmination was witnessed by around 4000 flabbergasted tourists, scientists, photographers, filmmakers and journalists, who ventured to the 160 square kilometre sacred island for the event.
The unique 41 second eclipse appeared to have quite an effect on its onlookers. In Tahiti, hordes of world cup football fans were allegedly stupefied, unable to continue with their arm chair activity.
In Patagonia, hundreds of animated onlookers were spotted dancing the morning away to the event’s final moments (6:52 AEST) in the small town of El Calafate, just across the border from southern Chile in the snow-capped Argentine Andes.
Patricia Vargas, from the University of Chile, has said the ancients would have seen the event as an eminently important upheaval of everything they knew, as their whole world revolved around the earth, sea and “especially the sky”.
A few Easter Island visitors, it seemed, were also kerfuffled by the phenomenon, as a French and Japanese tourist were arrested and charged for “over excitable” activities involving the illicit mounting of rare Easter Island statues.
Cassandra Spatula, from the Compassionate Archaeological Statue Society (CASS), is concerned over the lack of tenderness shown towards the objects during the event, saying “the whole thing is really a metaphor for society’s inevitable descent into utter darkness, which all begins with the statue”.