This Week’s Total Solar Eclipse in Antarctica Is a Stunning, Exclusive Event

The 2021 total solar eclipse will only be visible in Antarctica 7 photos
Photo: NASA/SwRI.Amir Caspi/Dan Seaton
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A solar eclipse, whether total or partial, is a special event in any circumstance, but this upcoming one is even more spectacular because of the location where it will be visible from. The fact that this total solar eclipse can be seen in Antarctica makes it not only a rare, historical event but also a truly exclusive one.
In opposition to the recent partial lunar eclipse, which was visible across the entire U.S. and many other places, the upcoming solar eclipse will be witnessed, in person, by very few people.

The only ones who will get to admire the total eclipse will be those traveling to Antarctica, but it will also be visible as a partial eclipse for people in the southernmost areas of South America, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, including places such as Saint Helena, Namibia, Falkland Islands, and Chile.

As EarthSky explains, the path of the moon’s umbral shadow will begin in the Southern Ocean, sweep over Antarctica, and also end in the Southern Ocean.

A total eclipse in Antarctica occurs every 18 years, 11 days, and eight hours – you might think that this means it’s not that rare. But, considering the specifics of this difficult-to-reach geographical area, the previous eclipse of this kind, which took place on November 23, 2003, was actually the first one in Antarctica to be seen by humans – at least, officially.

This makes the upcoming celestial event only the second of its kind to be admired by people. Only the lucky few who will be traveling on expedition cruise ships or by plane will get the chance to experience this stunning phenomenon, and it won’t be cheap – according to Forbes, passengers on these exclusive ships will be paying around $9,000.

The rest of us can watch the eclipse from the comfort of our homes, thanks to the NASA livestream on December 4, beginning at 1:30 a.m. EST. The live event streamed from the Union Glacier is courtesy of Theo Boris and Christian Lockwood of the JM Pasachoff Antarctic Expedition.

Another total solar eclipse in Antarctica won’t happen until 2039, and then it will be visible from an even more remote and difficult to access location – the largest ice-shelf in the world. So, those who will see for themselves the eclipse on December 4, can be considered rare witnesses to a historical event.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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