On Monday, December 14, parts of Chile and Argentina will experience a total solar eclipse in the afternoon. The Moon will cover the solar disk for up to 2 minutes and 10 seconds, and a partial eclipse will be visible from Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Antarctica.
The total eclipse will begin at 14:32 pm UTC, crossing the pacific before reaching South America, and end at 17:54 UTC in the Atlantic. The shadow of the Moon moves at almost 10,000 kilometers (over 6,200 miles) per hour and will be 90 kilometers (56 miles) across.
If you are in South America or Antarctica, remember that eye safety is paramount when observing such an incredible celestial spectacle. You can easily build a solar scope to watch it indirectly or used solar glasses. If you choose the latter, make sure they have an ISO 12312-2 stamp and the contact details of the manufacturer on them. Also, the lenses must not be scratched!
Dark glasses are not good enough. You need proper filters. This goes for cameras, binoculars, and telescopes. Only use them with filters or not at all. The danger to your eyes is serious and shouldn’t be underestimated.
If you are not in South America, there will be live streams of the spectacle as it happens, such as the Instituto de Astrofísica UC in Chile that will broadcast the event across its channels.
If you can’t make this eclipse in person or virtually, the next eclipse season is between the end of May and the beginning of June. We’ll have a total lunar eclipse on May 26 and an annular eclipse (the so-called ring of fire) on June 10, visible in Canada.
This decade is going to be a good one for eclipses with several visible from densely populated areas.