Narrow Swath of South America Sees Total Eclipse of the Sun

A narrow 96-kilometer-wide corridor from the Pacific Coast in Chile across the Andes mountain range and into Argentina in South America was treated Monday to views of the final total solar eclipse of 2020. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, casting a shadow that momentarily extinguishes daylight on Earth. Magdalena Nahuelpan, a Mapuche Indigenous girl, looks at a total solar eclipse using special glasses in Carahue, La Araucania, Chile, Dec. 14, 2020.Despite COVID-19 restrictions on travel and movement, thousands of tourists and residents gathered in Chile’s south-central Araucania region, about 800 kilometers south of the capital, Santiago. While heavy rain and clouds obscured the sun itself, the region was nonetheless plunged into darkness for about two minutes and eight seconds.  The Chilean health ministry issued protective eyewear for safe viewing of the eclipse, along with face masks and sanitizer to keep people safe from COVID-19. The weather was better in Argentina, though the path of the eclipse there went through sparsely populated areas of the Patagonia Desert.  The next total solar eclipse will occur over Antarctica on December 4, 2021.  

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