A Solar Eclipse Obscuring Antarctica Fascinates Scientists And Experts

A solar eclipse obscuring Antarctica fascinates scientists and experts

Since 7:00 GMT (8:00 in the morning in Spain) this Saturday it has been possible to appreciate how the Moon has interposed itself before the Sun and has begun to cast a shadow on the Earth until producing a total solar eclipse . At that time, the three spheres were aligned in a straight line, a phenomenon that can be seen in its fullness from Antarctica, which welcomes groups of scientists for observation these days.

The white continent is the only and privileged place in the world where, in some of its areas, this total eclipse can be seen in full, while in other areas of the planet a partial solar eclipse is experienced.

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At least five teams of Chilean scientists are installed 1,000 kilometers from the south pole to observe this astronomical landmark, within the framework of the LVIII Antarctic Scientific Expedition organized by the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH) to the La Unión Glacier Scientific Polar Station, base operated by this institution.

“In our case, the objective is to observe the extended Solar Corona. Although we have observations in space pointing to specific areas, from terrestrial eclipses the extended area of ​​this corona can be studied,” he stated in reference to the outermost layer of the Sol Patricio Rojo, doctor in astrophysics and leader of one of the research teams at the University of Chile that traveled to Antarctica.

It is the second event of these characteristics to be documented from the South Pole of the planet, being the last record of the year 2003. “The observations we make on the impact of the solar eclipse on Antarctic meteorology will help us improve our understanding of the climate and the weather of this extreme zone (…) These results may even allow us to approximate a projection of the climate in the coming decades on the White Continent, “said Renéé Garreaud, PhD student from the University of Chile. .

The phenomenon, explained Rojo, lasts for approximately two hours, but the total coverage time reaches only 46 seconds. From the La Unión Glacier, the point where the teams from Rojo and others were stationed, it is one of the few inhabited places on the White Continent from where the eclipse is visible in all its magnitude; from other areas of Antarctica it can be seen partially, including other stations in Chilean territory.

“This base is the only one that is on the path of the shadow of the eclipse, there is no other previous site within Antarctica that is on the path of total darkness. There is a path that passes over the sea, where I understand there are plans to observe from ships, but then their journey will cover the great ice sheets of the continent “, declares Rojo.

Spectators in other areas of the planet such as Saint Helena, Namibia, Lesotho, South Africa, South Georgia and Sandwich Islands, Crozet Islands, Falkland Islands, Chile, New Zealand and Australia have seen a partial solar eclipse, with the Sun, the Moon and Earth not exactly aligned. In many of these places, the eclipse occurs before, during and after sunrise or sunset, which according to NASA will allow viewers to have a clear view of the horizon.

This total solar eclipse closes the cycle of the three total solar eclipses that have been seen from Chilean territory in recent years, after the northern one in 2019 and the southern one in 2020. It also adds to a list of milestones that They occur every 20 years in the region: the last recorded were in 1921, 1939, 1957, 1985 and 2003. From now on, the next ones will be in 2039 and 2057.

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