The US National Guard is on standby in Salem in case of emergencies during a rare total solar eclipse that will plunge much of the US into darkness on Monday. NASA today tweeted that the first US city to witness the unusual event, which has been branded by hardline evangelical Christians as a sign of the end of the world, would be the east-coast US city in Essex County, Massachusetts, which is synonymous with witchcraft.

Of course, the US space agency does not believe anything untoward will happen during or after the eclipse, and has set up a base in the city to use high-tech equipment to capture stunning images of the eclipse. NASA tweeted: “The eclipse’s path will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.  “Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse.” READ MORE