For the first time in two years, the Earth, the moon and the sun will line up just right, creating a total solar eclipse on Tuesday.
Unlike the North American eclipse of 2017 that was visible across large swaths of the continent, this eclipse will occur mostly over the Pacific Ocean and be visible in parts of South America.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, and scores a bull’s-eye by completely blotting out the sunlight with its shadow.
According to NASA, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and parts of Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela and Panama will see a partial eclipse. “Totality”, when the moon completely blocks the sun, will only be seen in a narrow 112 kilometre strip of the moon’s shadow. The total eclipse will first be visible in South America over the city of La Serena, Chile and move across the Andes mountain range to end near Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The solar eclipse will last about five hours. The moon will first appear to block out the sun around 12:55 p.m. ET, causing a partial eclipse which will first become visible in South America over the city of La Serena, Chile around 3:22 p.m. It will reach totality there at 4:38 p.m. ET and last for about two minutes. Buenos Aires will be the last city on the continent to experience totality, which will end around 4:44 p.m. ET.
How to watch (safely)
If you don’t happen to be in South America, you can watch a livestream of the eclipse on this site, ending at 5:50 p.m. ET.
If you are lucky enough to be in the path of the eclipse on Tuesday, remember not to look at it directly. Like any other day, looking directly at the sun will cause a fair amount of damage to your eyes.
Even regular sunglasses or binoculars are not adequate protection. To watch the celestial phenomenon with your vision intact, use solar eclipse glasses — they are fairly inexpensive and look like old 3-D movie classes, fitted with solar filters in a cardboard frame.
NASA has a list of criteria these glasses should meet:
- Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard
- Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product
- Not be used if they are older than three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses
- Not use homemade filters
A pinhole viewer like the ones you made in elementary school will also work, but make sure you keep your back towards the sun while looking at the projection.
For more ways on how to view an eclipse click here: How to safely watch the solar eclipse.
With Files from Christine Chubb and The Canadian Press