A Total Solar Eclipse Is Coming Next Month — Here's Where It Will Be Visible
This year, we've seen incredible supermoons and a "ring of fire" eclipse, but this is a truly unique celestial event. While those of us in the United States won't be able to see this eclipse in person, folks in Chile and Argentina will have the chance to view this incredible astronomical event from lakes, hot springs, and one of Chile's most active volcanoes. Plus, with options to livestream the eclipse, we can all enjoy the magic of this natural phenomenon from the comfort of our homes.
Related: More space travel and astronomy news
2020 Total Solar Eclipse Path of Totality
To fully experience the eclipse, you must stand within the path of totality — the moon's central shadow — which will be about 56 miles wide. On December 14, 2020, the path of totality will stretch across the Chilean Lake District and Argentina’s northern Patagonia region. It will begin at 1 p.m. local time on the west coast of Chile and end at 1:24 p.m. local time on the east coast of Argentina. The maximum eclipse will occur south of Neuquén, near Sierra Colorada, and last 130 seconds.
2020 Total Solar Eclipse vs. the "Great American Eclipse"
In many ways, this eclipse is going to be similar to the 2017 eclipse in the U.S. The duration of totality will be roughly the same, and the 2020 total solar eclipse will take place high in the sky, as seen from both Chile and Argentina. In fact, it will be as high as 70º in the daytime sky, which is great for eclipse-chasers. Looking at an eclipse low in the sky is far riskier because there's a higher chance of having your sight line blocked by a horizon cloud.
Viewing the Solar Eclipse in Chile and Argentina
Those in Chile and Argentina will have the chance to view the total solar eclipse from several beautiful locations. Pucón on the eastern shore of Lake Villarrica in the Chilean Lake District and Volcán Villarrica (an active volcano) are among the destinations where the eclipse will be visible in Chile — which reopens to tourists next month.
However, in this part of Chile, there’s around a 50 percent chance of clouds blocking the view, while across the Andes in Argentinean Patagonia, there’s just a 30 percent chance of that occurring. Piedra del Águila, Sierra Colorada, and Las Grutas are among the optimal viewing locations in Argentina.
When is the next solar eclipse?
On December 4, 2021, there will be a total solar eclipse in Antarctica. So how about seeing nature’s greatest spectacle while touring nature’s greatest environment? It’s sure to be a popular — if expensive — experience. If Antartica is out of your budget, know that there is no total solar eclipse in 2022, and in 2023, there will only be a super-short total solar eclipse visible from a remote part of Western Australia.
The “Greatest American Eclipse” will occur on April 8, 2024, when an even better four-and-a-half-minute totality crosses Mexico, the U.S. (from Texas to Maine), and the Atlantic coast of Canada.