The solar eclipse that will darken Antarctica fascinates scientists and experts

Two visitors on an ice scooter in the Unión Glacier, Chile (Photo: EFE) (Felipe Trueba /)

Starting at 7:00 GMT this Saturday, the Moon will interpose itself before the Sun and will begin to cast a shadow on the Earth until produce a total solar eclipse when the three spheres are aligned in a straight line, a phenomenon that can be seen in its fullness from the Antarctica, which welcomes these days to groups of scientists for observation.

The white continent is the only and privileged place in the world where, in some of its areas, you can see this total eclipse in full, while other areas of the planet will experience a partial solar eclipse.

At least five teams of scientists from Chile are already installed 1,000 kilometers from the South Pole to observe this astronomical milestone, within the framework of the LVIII Antarctic Scientific Expedition organized by the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH) to the La Unión Glacier Scientific Polar Station, a base operated by this institution.

“In our case, the objective is to observe the extended Solar Corona. Although we have observations in space pointing to specific areas, from the terrestrial eclipses the extended zone of this corona can be studied “, he affirmed in reference to the outermost layer of the Sun Red patrick, doctor in astrophysics and leader of one of the research teams of the University of Chile that traveled to Antarctica.

Its about second event of these characteristics that will be documented from the South Pole of the planet, being the last record of the year 2003. “Our observations on the impact of the solar eclipse on Antarctic weather will help us improve our understanding of the climate and weather in this extreme zone. These results may even allow us to approximate a climate projection in the coming decades on the White Continent ”, said Renéé Garreaud, PhD student from the University of Chile.

The phenomenon, explained Rojo, will last approximately two hours, but the full coverage time will reach only 46 seconds.

The La Union Glacier, the point where the teams of Rojo and others were stationed, it is one of the few inhabited places on the White Continent from where the eclipse will be visible in all its magnitude; from other areas of Antarctica it can be seen partially, including other stations in Chilean territory.

This base is the only one that is on the path of the shadow of the eclipse, there is no other previous site within Antarctica that is on the path of total darkness. There is a path that passes over the sea, where I understand there are plans to observe from ships, but then its path will cover the great ice sheets of the continent ”, stated Rojo.

Spectators in other areas of the planet such as Saint Helena, Namibia, Lesotho, South Africa, South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands, Crozet Islands, Falkland Islands, Chile, New Zealand and Australia you will see a partial solar eclipse, with the Sun, Moon and Earth not exactly aligned.

In many of these places, the eclipse will occur before, during and after sunrise or sunset, which according to NASA will allow viewers to have a clear view of the horizon. The next total solar eclipse December 4th It closes the cycle of three total solar eclipses that have been seen from Chilean territory in recent years, after the northern one in 2019 and the southern one in 2020.

It also adds to a list of milestones that occur every 20 years in the region: the last recorded were in 1921, 1939, 1957, 1985 and 2003. From now on, the next ones will be in 2039 and 2057.

(With information from EFE)

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