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