La Serena, Chile – Tens of thousands of tourists gathered in cities and towns in northern Chile to find places in one of the best locations in the world to attend the total solar eclipse on Tuesday. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun and marks a target by completely raising the sunlight.
Millions of people were expected to contemplate the cosmic spectacle that was visible for the first time on the South Pacific and traveled a 680 km path in open waters towards Chile and Argentina. Those are the only places where you can see the total eclipse, apart from an uninhabited island in the Pacific.
What time is the solar eclipse today?
The eclipse made its first landing in Chile at 3.22pm. local time (3:22 pm ET) in La Serena, a city of about 200,000 people where the arrival of over 300,000 visitors forced the local water company to increase production and service stations to store extra fuel . Police and health services have also been strengthened.
The total eclipse began there at 4:38 pm and lasted about 2 ½ minutes.
"I came to La Serena to see the total eclipse with a friend following a recommendation," said Stephanie Bouckurt from the United States. "They told me that nothing is comparable to a solar eclipse, that's why we're here, we're super excited."
Northern Chile is known for clear skies and some of the largest and most powerful telescopes on Earth were built in the area, transforming the South American country into a center of global astronomy.
The city of La Higuera would also have been immersed in total darkness.
"We hope that this milestone turns (our city) into a tourist attraction, so that visitors … can come to La Higuera and take a picture where once there was a & # 39 ; total eclipse of the sun, "said mayor Yerko Galleguillos.
City officials distributed more than 2,000 cardboard-framed protective glasses in local schools and community centers, while workers built statues on huge sunglasses and a darkened sun on a local square.
"These glasses will offer (to students) the opportunity to protect themselves and watch this show that we were all so eagerly awaiting," said Alejandra Zuñiga, director of the Juan Pablo Muñoz school in La Higuera.
"It will be very dark and we will have a Milky Way in its full splendor," said the Chilean astronomer María Teresa Ruiz. "I invite you to look at hundreds of thousands of stars."
Thousands of visitors have also walked into the neighboring areas of Argentina to see the total eclipse.
The San Juan provincial government has installed telescopes and public observation areas. Meanwhile, astronomers in the province of Buenos Aires have planned to offer yoga and meditation classes during the eclipse, which will also be partially visible in other South American countries.
Total eclipses are relatively rare for a particular point. In 2017, millions of people in the United States witnessed the phenomena, with a total solar eclipse visible in parts of 14 states and a partial eclipse observed throughout most of the country. It was the first eclipse so widespread in the United States since 1918.
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