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'Awe inspiring' photos of the only total solar eclipse of 2020

The moon fully blocked the sun in some South American skies Dec. 14, creating temporary darkness in daytime. Look at these photos for a glimpse.
TOPSHOT - The total solar eclipse as seen from Piedra del Aquila, Neuquen province, Argentina on December 14, 2020.

The only total solar eclipse of 2020 arrived Monday. And some lucky sky gazers in the world's southern hemisphere witnessed what NASA describes as "one of nature's most awe-inspiring sights."

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon fully blocks the sun and casts a shadow on Earth, creating a temporary darkness in the middle of the day. Observers in the eclipse's "path of totality" can see only the sun's atmosphere (or corona), which looks like a ring of light.

According to NASA, this year's show began at 9:40 a.m. ET Dec. 14. Unfortunately, few people around the world were able to watch it able to watch it live — as the path of totality tracked over only parts of South America — stretching from Saavedra, Chile to Salina del Eje, Argentina.

Totality lasted up to 2 minutes and 10 seconds, weather permitting. NASA livestreamed the event, courtesy of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and telescopes at the Observatorio Docente UC, Santa Martina.

If you don't live in near the eclipse's path, or missed the online viewing, never fear: you can check out these spectacular photos.

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Magdalena Nahuelpan, a Mapuche Indigenous girl, smiles as she looks at a total solar eclipse using special glasses in Carahue, La Araucania, Chile, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. The total eclipse was visible from Chile and the northern Patagonia region of Argentina, and as a partial solar eclipse in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.
The moon moves across the the sun during a solar eclipse in the path of totality in Piedra del Aguila, Argentina, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. The total solar eclipse was visible from the northern Patagonia region of Argentina and from Araucania in Chile.
The diamond ring effect is seen during the total solar eclipse from Villa Chocon, Neuquen province, Argentina on December 14, 2020.
The total solar eclipse as seen from from Pucon, southern Chile, on December 14, 2020. - The hopes of thousands of tourists and residents in Chile's south saw their hopes of watching a total eclipse of the sun shrink as heavy rain fell on Monday just hours before the expected event.
View of the total solar eclipse in Pucon, southern Chile, on December 14, 2020.
The moon partially covers the sun during a total solar eclipse as seen from Piedra del Aquila, Neuquen province, Argentina on December 14, 2020.
Using a welder's mask as protection, a man views a total eclipse in Piedra del Aguila, Argentina, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. The total solar eclipse was visible from the northern Patagonia region of Argentina and from Araucania in Chile, and as a partial eclipse from the lower two-thirds of South America.
The moon covers the sun during a total solar eclipse in Piedra del Aguila, Argentina, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. The total solar eclipse was visible from the northern Patagonia region of Argentina and from Araucania in Chile, and as a partial eclipse from the lower two-thirds of South America.

The next total solar eclipse will be Dec. 4, 2021.

Make sure to wear solar eclipse glasses for eye protection (regular sunglasses are not sufficient) and never look directly at the sun. You can learn more about safety precautions here.

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