A total solar eclipse on Saturday plunged Antarctica into darkness in a rare astronomical spectacle seen only by a handful of scientists and thrill-seekers along with countless penguins.

Raul Cordero of the University of Santiago de Chile (USACH), said, “The visibility was excellent”. Cordero was on site to witness “totality” at 0746 GMT, with the “ring of fire” phase lasting just over 40 seconds.

Solar eclipses take place when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, casting its shadow on the Earth. In order for the eclipse to be total, the Sun, Moon and Earth must be directly aligned.

Totality could be witnessed only in Antarctica, experienced by a small number of scientists, experts and adventure tourists who had paid around $40,000 for the experience.

Nasa live streamed the eclipse from the Union Glacier camp in Antarctica. The eclipse started at 0700 GMT as the Moon started moving in front of the Sun, and came to an end at 0806 GMT.

The Union Glacier camp is located around 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) north of the South Pole.

As per Nasa, a partial eclipse was also visible across parts of the southern hemisphere, including parts of Saint Helena, Namibia, Lesotho, South Africa, Chile, New Zealand and Australia.

The last total solar eclipse in Antarctica took place on November 23, 2003 and the next one will not be until 2039.

An annular solar eclipse in which the Moon obscures all but an outer ring of the Sun is set to sweep across North America in October 2023, followed by a total eclipse in April 2024.


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