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in pictures |  Total solar eclipse plunges Antarctica into darkness

in pictures | Total solar eclipse plunges Antarctica into darkness

A total solar eclipse turned Antarctica from summer into darkness early Saturday, in a rare astronomical spectacle attended by a handful of scientists, thrill seekers, and countless penguins.

Visibility was excellent,” said Raul Cordero of the University of Santiago de Chile (USACH), who was in attendance for the ‘College’ at 2:46 a.m., with the ‘Circle of Fire’ stage lasting just over 40 seconds.

France Press agency

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, casting a shadow on the earth. To be complete, the Sun, Moon, and Earth must be aligned directly.

France Press agency

All this was visible only in Antarctica, to the delight of a small group of scientists, experts and adventurers, who paid about 40 thousand dollars (about 35,000 euros) for this privilege.

Broadcast live by NASA, the eclipse began at 2 a.m. ET when the moon began to move in front of the sun, and ended at 3:06 a.m. ET.

The Union Glacier camp, where it was observed, is located about 1,000 kilometers north of Antarctica.

Antarctica is bathed in perpetual light at this time of year, which peaks on December 21, when the sun does not set.

France Press agency

According to NASA, a partial eclipse also appeared across parts of the Southern Hemisphere, including parts of Saint Helena, Namibia, Lesotho, South Africa, Chile, New Zealand and Australia.

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The last total solar eclipse occurred in Antarctica on November 23, 2003, and the next eclipse is not expected until 2039.

An annular solar eclipse – where the moon blocks everything but the sun’s outer ring – is expected across North America in October 2023, followed by a total eclipse in April 2024.