An estimated 4,000 tourists, scientists, photographers, filmmakers and journalists flocked to this World Heritage site of only 160 square kilometers (60 square miles), doubling the barren island's population.
The sun is 400 times wider than the moon, but it is also 400 times farther away. Because of the symmetry, the lunar umbra that falls on the face of the Earth is exactly wide enough to cover the face of the sun.
Throughout human history, superstition, awe and dread -- fears for the birth or death of kings, victories or defeats, bumper harvests or gnawing hunger -- have attended the moment when the Earth is plunged into daytime darkness.
Easter Island authorities increased security, especially around key heritage sites, including the 3,000-year-old large stone statues, or moai, that put the far-flung ethnic Polynesian islanders on the world culture map.
In local ancient lore, such an eclipse "would have been seen as a very powerful signal of upcoming upheaval," as their world view was rooted in nature, in "the earth, the sea and especially the sky," said Patricia Vargas of the University of Chile.