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Easter Island sees rare total eclipse

HANGA ROA | Thousands of excited stargazers waited on mysterious Easter Island Sunday to watch an almost five-minute total eclipse of the sun, as earlier stormy weather gave way to bright sunshine.

The are eclipse casting its shadow over the island’s ancient strange stone statues lent a mystical air to the event.

An estimated 4,000 tourists, scientists, photographers, filmmakers and journalists flocked to the Chilean World Heritage site of only 60 square miles, doubling the barren island’s population.

Chilean weather forecasters had cast doubts on how visible the seventh total eclipse of the century would be, warning of clouds and rain.

Umbrellas and raincoats had been de rigueur attire for those arriving on by boat and airplane for the last few days.

But as the sun rose Sunday, there were bright blue skies bringing hopes that, despite a brisk wind, the eclipse would be clearly visible.

Many visitors came equipped with solar eclipse glasses, hoping to be able to stare into the skies at the exact moment that sun, moon and Earth align for a fleeting four minutes and 41 seconds.

From wire dispatches and staff reports