what's everyone looking at?

Everyone in Europe Is Busy Staring at the Sun Today

Photo: Mark Cuthbert/Getty Images

A total solar eclipse was visible across much of Europe, North Africa, and other parts of the globe today, resulting in many hilarious photos of people staring openmouthed at the sky like they were training to be extras in an action flick. 

The dark glasses people wore to protect their eyes from the wrath of the sun made it easy to distinguish the budding astronomers from those waiting for an impending invasion of extraterrestrials. In Longyearbyen, Norway, one of the northernmost places on Earth where you can still find a significant number of people, eclipse watchers whooped and popped bottles of Champagne as the sun receded from the sky. Mary Rannestad from Minnesota summed the moment up best: “It was just fabulous, just beautiful and at the same time a bit odd and it was too short.”

The United States missed out on all the fun and won’t get a chance to pull out the eclipse glasses until August 21, 2017. It will be the first time a total solar eclipse has been visible here since 1979.

Until then, we can make ourselves feel better by laughing at how wonderfully ridiculous people look when staring at eclipses.

People in Toulouse, France use ancient cardboard eclipse glasses first used by Icarus to stare at the sun. Photo: PASCAL PAVANI/Getty Images
Daft Punk gathers inspiration from the empty sky. (Or two guys in Britain wearing welding masks.) Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
They’re actually just watching the Lego Movie. Photo: Joseph Okpako/Getty Images
If you look at a solar eclipse through Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” the unknown contents of the Warren Commission will be burned onto your eyeballs. Photo: PETRAS MALUKAS/Getty Images
Imagine how much better this photo would have been if Egypt borrowed Toulouse’s giant pair of eclipse glasses. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Cover model for the a new magazine that aims to be the “Modern Farmer” for stargazers. Photo: FREDERICK FLORIN/Getty Images

Since this is one of the first major celestial events in the age of smartphones, doctors have been quick to warn people that Instagramming might be bad for your health. A clinical adviser at the U.K.’s College of Optometrists told BBC, “In 1999, when there was the last major eclipse, no-one really had smartphones or took selfies. This could potentially be very dangerous because people might be tempted to look at the Sun as they try to get the perfect shot or clip.”

And yes, people were tempted. 

Photo: Rob Stothard/Getty Images

Some people made shields to protect their iPhone’s fragile eyes from the sun.

A new Instagram filter is born. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

There were those who accidentally preserved their eyesight by taking photos of their pets wearing stylish eclipse shades instead.

“Why is the ground so dark, I’m so confused.” Photo: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images
Photo: PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Other animals didn’t seem to get what the big deal was either.

Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Cloudy weather stopped many people from getting to see the show. As these friends in France showed, however, it’s not that hard to fake an eclipse reaction shot. There’s absolutely nothing to stop the hungry Instagrammers of North America from feigning solar awe today — and you don’t even have to worry about burning your eyeballs.

If a eclipse reaction shot looks like a still from the Avengers, it’s probably a fake. Photo: DOMINIQUE FAGET/Getty Images
Everyone in Europe Is Busy Staring at the Sun