Sunday, 08 December, 2019

Chileans and Argentines ready to gaze at total solar eclipse

Total Solar Eclipse 2019 Know date timings other details Image for Representational purposes
Sandy Nunez | 02 July, 2019, 10:29

After the current year's occasion, the next total solar eclipse will be obvious on December 14, 2020, over parts of South America, as per NASA. As temperatures crash, there's an eerie 360-degree twilight.

A total solar eclipse will be observed in South America on Tuesday, July 2.

The European Southern Observatory will stream its own live coverage of the event from its facility in the Atacama Desert in Chile. It's the only time that the solar corona - the sheath of high-speed, super-hot particles that ensconce the sun - is visible to onlookers. Those are the only places the total eclipse will be seen aside from an uninhabited island.

NASA said that totality is required to start around 4:38pm local time (20:38 GMT) in La Serena, Chile, and end there around 4:40pm (20:20 GMT). From any one location, totality is only visible for a few minutes.

Thousands of people have descended on the nearby town of La Higuera, located on the so-called "path of totality", where the eclipse is predicted to last longest, around 2 minutes and 36 seconds.

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The eclipse is expected to make its first landfall in Chile at 3:22 p.m. (1922 GMT) in La Serena, a city of some 200,000 people where the arrival of more than 300,000 visitors forced the local water company to increase output and service gas stations to store extra fuel. From 4 p.m. -5 p.m., the agency will also stream a one-hour program with audio commentary in both English and Spanish. That will make it slightly more hard to find an unobstructed horizon, especially in the mountains, though if there are clear skies (it is July, which is winter in the southern hemisphere, so nothing is guaranteed) expect to see some handsome photos of a totally eclipsed sun sitting just above some mountaintops.

In some parts of the world, there are solar safe binoculars available in the market. Most South America will witness partial eclipse.

When is the next eclipse?

But when the lunar shadow touches land, the eclipse will traverse parts of Chile and Argentina in a journey lasting about 6 minutes.

This means all of the rest of Chile and Argentina, as well as Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, and parts of Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela and Panama. A major misconception is that you can use sunglasses to look at the sun during an eclipse, however, that is not true.

The Virtual Telescope Project, which has brought us exciting views of asteroids and eclipses in the past, will join the livefeed crowd through a partnership with the teams at the ESO and the Exploratorium.