Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 48

DECEMBER 2020 OBSERVING
Celestial Calendar by Bob King

imit
of

partial e
clipse

20%
40%

OF

60%

TOT
80%
AL E
CLIPSE
80%

60%
40%

The Moon's shadow visits Chile and Argentina again.
South
er n l i

C

oncerns about COVID-19 may put
a crimp in travel plans for many
of us hoping to see the December 14th
total solar eclipse, but the show will go
on regardless.
I booked a flight to Argentina for
the event, but as I write this (at the
start of September), international
travel remains iffy. Thousands of eager
umbraphiles may find themselves in
the same situation as we collectively
grapple with a pandemic that has
upended so many lives. Never fear. Even

if you can't make it to the centerline,
you're guaranteed a front row seat via
livestreaming from the Exploratorium
Museum in San Francisco (exploratorium.edu/eclipse) and at timeanddate.
com (timeanddate.com/live/eclipsesolar-2020-december-14).
Much like the 2019 South America
eclipse, the track of totality once again
crosses Chile and Argentina, but this
time about 1,000 kilometers (620
miles) farther south, and during Southern Hemisphere summer. The Moon's

This stunning high-resolution
image of the solar corona was
made during the July 2, 2019,
total solar eclipse near Tres
Cruces, Chile.

48

DECEMBER 2 02 0 * SK Y & TELESCOPE

20%

mit o

f part

ial ec

lips
e

shadow touches down at sunrise on the
14th (14:33 UT) in the South Pacific.
It rapidly heads east, making landfall
97 minutes later on the Chilean coast,
where lucky viewers can catch 2 minutes and 8 seconds of totality. Traveling at 2,400 kilometers per hour, the
lunar shadow dashes across the narrow
country in 4 minutes, descending from
the towering peaks of the Andes down
to the deserts and tablelands of Argentina's Patagonia region.
Weather prospects are generally good
along the 700-kilometer-long Argentinian eclipse track. Perhaps the best place
to view the event is north of the town
of Piedra del Águila, which has a 30%
average cloud cover at this time of year.
Greatest eclipse occurs 180 kilometers to the east, where observers can
experience 2 minutes and 10 seconds of
totality, with mid-eclipse occurring at
16:13:30 UT.
Six minutes later, tourists sunning
on the beach in the popular coastal
resort town of Las Grutas need only
peer over the tops of their sunglasses
to enjoy 2 minutes and 6 seconds of
totality before the Sun reappears and
tanning resumes. The shadow then
leaves Argentina and travels 7,000 kilometers across the South Atlantic Ocean
before departing Earth off the coast of
Namibia, at 17:54 UT - 3 hours and 21
minutes after the eclipse started.
Within the umbra's path, observers
can watch for Baily's Beads just before

ECLIPSE IM AG E: MILOSL AV DRUCK M ÜLLER / PE TER A NIOL;
ECLIPSE PATH: G REGG DINDER M A N / S&T / SOURCE:
FRED ESPEN A K

PAT
H

Eclipse begins
a
t
s
uns
Maximum ec
et
lipse
a
Eclipse ends
t
at sun sun
set set

A South American
Total Eclipse

Eclipse ends at su
nris
e
Maximum eclipse at su
nris
Eclipse begins
e
at su
nrise

Nor
the
rn l


http://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse http://www.timeanddate.com http://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse http://www.timeanddate.com http://www.timeanddate.com/live/eclipse-solar-2020-december-14 http://www.timeanddate.com/live/eclipse-solar-2020-december-14

Sky & Telescope - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky & Telescope - December 2020

Contents
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - Cover1
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - Cover2
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 1
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - Contents
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 3
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 4
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 5
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 6
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 7
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 8
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 9
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 10
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 11
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 12
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 13
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 14
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 15
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Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 17
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Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 21
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Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - Cover3
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