Eclipse hunters have already travelled to find prime spots to see the latest total eclipse of the sun.
Here's how to see the latest full solar eclipse safely. And if you haven’t made plans, packed your bags and grabbed your safety glasses, don’t worry, you can also watch it online.
What Is A Solar Eclipse?
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon is between the Sun and Earth so that the visible disk of the Sun is blocked by the Moon casting a shadow on the Earth’s surface. In the case of a total solar eclipse, the Moon completely blocks the Sun’s light.
The starting point of the eclipse will be from 4,000 km east-northeast of Wellington, New Zealand, from where it will make the second landfall reaching central Chile.
From there, the shadow will go in an east-southeast direction through central Argentina and will eventually come to an end just before reaching Uruguay.
So, the total solar eclipse will be visible from parts of Chile and Argentina only. A partial solar eclipse will be visible in countries like Ecuador, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay.
Back in history, the descent of sudden darkness signified impending doom. Historic eclipse myths include a monster devouring the sun, a punishment from the gods for human errors, and a prelude to apocalypse.
We no longer worry about such things... but do remember, if you are lucky enough to view the eclipse that it is very important to practice sun safety.
If you are close enough to the locations which will witness the total eclipse of the sun you’ll need to take special care not to damage your eyes.
Be sure to take proper protection such as the use of approved solar glasses.
Where Is The Best Place To See The Solar Eclipse?
This week sky watchers have been flocking to key regions of Chile and Argentina to see the Moon pass directly in front of the Sun, blocking out any light for just a few minutes.
That's because this year's total solar eclipse begins out over the Pacific.
The Moon's great shadow, or umbra, first touches the ocean surface east of New Zealand.
Ships and planes from French Polynesia are planning to travel to witness it.
The only island to lie in the path of totality is the tiny and uninhabited British overseas territory, Oeno Island, which is part of the Pitcairns and will spend three minutes in darkness from 10:24am local time (10:24 PT).
The umbra then reaches across to the coast of Chile, near La Serena, arriving at 16:38 local time (12.38 PT.
The eclipse will take place over the Andes Mountains and through the South American continent with the inhabitants of Chascomús in the district of Buenos Aires among the last to enjoy the eclipse at 17:44 local time (12:44 PT), shortly before sunset.
This eclipse takes place in the depths of the Southern Hemisphere winter, but the sub-tropical latitudes taken suggest a clear view of the eclipse.
Those fortunate enough to catch the eclipse will have to be in what is termed the “path of totality" and will be looking at the event late in the day which means the eclipse will take place close to the horizon.
There are classic features of a full solar eclipse including "Baily's beads", which show themselves as the last shafts of sunlight drive through valleys on the Moon. "Diamond Ring" is the single brilliant point of light that signals the beginning and end of totality.
The solar eclipse will be visible over a 125-mile (200km) wide path which spans from coast to coast across Chile and Argentina.
However, the maximum time of four minutes and 33 seconds may be visible only to observers on boats and aeroplanes, as it will be happening over the Pacific Ocean.
Countries nearby such as Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Ecuador will be able to witness a partial eclipse, as only part of the Sun will be blocked.
How To Watch The Solar Eclipse Online
Those want to see can log on to the website of the Exploratorium museum.
The museum based in San Francisco will stream the solar eclipse 2019 live all the way from the National Science Foundation’s Cerro Tololo Observatory in Chile. The live stream will kick off at 12:23pm PST.
The museum also has a dedicated app for the total solar eclipse on iOS and Android. Users can download the same to watch the live stream of the total solar eclipse.
An ESO webcast will begin at 3.15pm EDT (8.15 BST), which is one hour and 24 minutes before totality occurs.
You can watch it at eso.org/public/live or on YouTube.
Should there be bad weather broadcasts could be impaired, but currently there is a 40 percent chance of a clear sky.
Website Slooh will also be broadcasting the eclipse live, with commentary by astrophysicist Paige Godfrey via Slooh’s telescope partners in Chile.
However, this live stream is only available via Slooh’s paid membership, which begins at £3.91 ($4.95) per month.
While these regions will enjoy a total solar eclipse, many more of us will get to appreciate a partial event of varying darkness.
The rest of Chile and Argentina, as well as Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, and parts of Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela and Panama will all enjoy the partial phenomena.
In four minutes and 33 seconds, the will follow a 6,000-mile path but the northern coast of South America will miss out.
But don't worry if you fail to catch sight of this one.
The next total solar eclipse is also over South America, on 14 December, 2020.