Chile – A total solar eclipse threatened by bad weather

More than 100,000 people hope to witness a total solar eclipse on Monday in the Araucania region in southern Chile.

To witness the total eclipse, you have to be on the path of the lunar shadow, on the narrow 90 km strip.

AFP

The thousands of tourists and scientists who flocked to the Chilean region of Araucania (south) to witness a total solar eclipse on Monday, could see this spectacle marred by the clouds and the rains that fell on Saturday. The weather forecast indicates a probability of rain of 100% for Monday at 1:00 p.m. (local, 5:00 p.m. in Switzerland) in Pucon, at the time of alignment between the Earth, the Moon and the Sun.

The hope for the 120,000 or so visitors who have already arrived in the city of Pucon, some 800 kilometers south of Santiago, is that the storm will stop on Monday, the city’s mayor told AFP, Carlos Barra. “The climate here is so changeable that the winds just need to change. The day of the eclipse will be partially cloudy, I’m not saying clear, and cold, ”said the city councilor.

A 90 km strip

To witness the total eclipse, you have to be on the path of the lunar shadow, on the narrow 90 km strip where the black will be total for two minutes and nine seconds. In July 2019, the spectacular phenomenon darkened the clear skies of northern Chile, where several astronomical observatories are located, and gathered 300,000 people in the middle of the Atacama Desert.

In the region of Araucania (south), health restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus this time slowed the influx, while the toll of the pandemic in Chile is 569,781 people infected and 15,846 dead. Faced with the resurgence of contagions in recent weeks, local authorities have had to ask not to come to Pucon in order not to jeopardize the usual tourist season, which is in full swing in January and February. However, the accesses to Pucon continued to fill up on Saturday with cars, motorcycles and caravans, due to the attraction of this extraordinary astronomical phenomenon.

AFP/NXP

Posted today at 3:00 a.m.

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