A total solar eclipse has swept across parts of the US, with day turning into night for two minutes in 14 states.

A partial solar eclipse is visible in Ireland at present.

Solar eclipses happen when the Moon passes between the Earth and Sun, blocking out light from our star.

Up to five solar eclipses occur each year around the world.

But each one is visible only within a limited band across the Earth's surface where the Moon's shadow happens to fall, known as the path of totality.

This one will be seen along a path running from Oregon to South Carolina - the first to cross the entire continental US in almost a century.

US stargazers head for prime eclipse viewing spots

In Ireland, a partial eclipse will be visible with the Moon appearing to take a small bite out of the Sun.

The phenomenon will last roughly 40 minutes with the 2-3 minute long peak occurring at slightly different times around the country - starting around 7.30pm and ending around 8.30pm.

However, with only around 10% of the Sun being blocked out here, the dimming of light will not be noticeable.

People should only observe the eclipse using special approved eclipse glasses or astro solar filters on telescopes on binoculars, as viewing the Sun directly can cause serious eye injury or even permanent vision loss.

Two years ago, Ireland enjoyed a near total solar eclipse, but a complete one has not happened since 1727, nor will one be seen again until 2090.

The last eclipse over mainland US was in 1979 and the path of totality only crossed five states.

The next will occur in April 2024 when 12 states will witness it and again in 2045 when it will be visible from ten states.