On August 21, 2017, the sun gradually went dark from coast to coast across the United States for the first time in 99 years. As it did, millions of Americans turned their gaze upward to catch a glimpse of one of the planet's most spectacular natural wonders.

A crowd gathers in front of the Hollywood sign at the Griffith Observatory to watch the solar eclipse in Los Angeles on Aug. 21. | (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

Coreen Abbott watches the solar eclipse from Bernal Heights Hill in San Francisco. | (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

This rare total solar eclipse was said to be the "most observed and most photographed" in history. Some 200 million people live within a day's drive of its path of totality, a 70-mile band of darkness that stretched through 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina, and hundreds of thousands more had been expected to road trip to get there. Schools, parks, and stadiums hosted viewing parties attended by thousands, and in cities, residents retreated to the rooftops. At one point in the afternoon, NASA reported some 4.4 million people were watching its livestream of the phenomenon.

In some places, applause broke out from the flocks of revelers when the eclipse began; elsewhere, the crowds went silent.

"The only thing we all cared about was the sun, the moon, and the sky," an onlooker in Illinois told The Washington Post. "We all were here for one reason."

Indeed, for a few brief hours, a country fraught with social and political divisions took a moment to gather, to breathe, and to experience the wonder of the moon passing in front of the sun. Below, see the moments across the nation when a rare, astronomical marvel brought America together:

Depoe Bay, Oregon. | (REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Guernsey, Wyoming. | (REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

Des Moines, Iowa. | (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Nashville, Tennessee. | (Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Holiday Inn)

The stands at the Southern Illinois University football stadium in Carbondale, Illinois. | (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Ivanka Trump, Melania Trump, and President Trump watch the solar eclipse from the Truman Balcony at the White House. | (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Downtown Washington, D.C. | (ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty Images)

White House staff and members of the White House press corps look at the eclipse at the White House. | (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Times Square, New York City. | (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. | (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. | (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)