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A Total Solar Eclipse Over South America

A Total Solar Eclipse Over South America

On Dec. 14, 2020, a total solar eclipse will pass over Chile
and Argentina.

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Solar eclipses happen when the Moon lines up just right
between the Sun and Earth, allowing it to cast its shadow on Earth’s surface. People within the outer part of the Moon’s shadow will see the Sun partially
blocked by the Moon, and those in the inner part of the shadow will see a total
solar eclipse.

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The Moon’s orbit around Earth is slightly tilted, meaning
this alignment doesn’t happen on every orbit. Total solar eclipses happen
somewhere on Earth about once every 18 months.

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During a total solar eclipse, the Moon blocks out the Sun’s
bright face, revealing its comparatively faint outer atmosphere, the corona. This
provides Sun-watchers and scientists alike with a rare chance to see the solar
corona closer to the Sun’s surface than is usually possible.

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Scientists can take advantage of this unparalleled view —
and solar eclipses’ unique effects on Earth’s atmosphere — to perform unique
scientific studies on the Sun and its effects on Earth. Several NASA-funded
science teams performed such studies during the total solar eclipse in the
United States on Aug. 21, 2017. Read about what they’ve
learned so far.

Watching the eclipse

We’ll be carrying images of December’s eclipse — courtesy of
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile — on NASA TV and on the agency’s website starting at 9:40
a.m. EST on Dec. 14.

We’ll also have a live show in Spanish from 10:30 – 11:30
a.m. EST featuring views of the eclipse and NASA scientists.

If you’re observing the eclipse in person, remember that
it’s never safe to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun. You
can use special solar viewing
glasses (NOT sunglasses) or an indirect method like pinhole
projection to watch the eclipse in person.

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For people in the path of totality, there will be a few
brief moments when it is safe to look directly at the eclipse. Only once the
Moon has completely covered the Sun and there is no sunlight
shining is it safe to look at the eclipse. Make sure you put your eclipse
glasses back on or return to indirect viewing before the first flash of
sunlight appears around the Moon’s edge.

Mira el eclipse en vivo comentado por científicas de la NASA de 10:30 a 11:30 a.m. EST el 14 de diciembre en NASA TV y la página web de la agencia. Lee más sobre el eclipse y cómo observarlo de forma segura aquí: https://ciencia.nasa.gov/eclipse-de-2020-en-america-del-sur Y sigue a NASA en español en Instagram, Twitter, YouTube y Facebook.

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