Once upon a time, there was light in our lives, but now we’re mostly falling apart after spending the year trying to navigate life during a pandemic. On top of that, it’s also a U.S. presidential election year, thanks to which we’ve been living in a global political powder keg which has consistently been giving off sparks. Sometimes it can feel like there’s nothing we can do to experience even small moments of wonder — or at least some type of distraction from our current reality.
Now, think back to August 21, 2017, when, for a few minutes, many people stopped working, and spilled out into the streets to witness a total solar eclipse. Sadly, that exact scenario is impossible right now for a variety of reasons, but there is another total eclipse of the sun coming up on Tuesday. And while we won’t be able to see it in person, we can join the rest of the world and watch the livestream. Here’s how to do that.
What is a solar eclipse?
In case you need a quick refresher, a solar eclipse happens when it appears as though the moon passes in front of the sun. During a total eclipse, 100% of the sun is covered, while a partial eclipse is exactly what it sounds like. This chart from NASA lists all the solar eclipses between 2011 and 2020. Tuesday’s will be the sixth total eclipse in that time period — so they don’t happen that often, but they do occur regularly. In other words, every now and then the sun goes dark.
How to stream the total eclipse of the sun
This time, those in South America will be the ones treated to the solar phenomenon. The eclipse takes place this Tuesday, December 15, and starts at 12:33 a.m. AEDT, then ends at 5:53 a.m. AEDT.
Like the eclipse of 2017, there is a narrow path of totality, meaning that those in that specific area will see the moon completely cover the sun, while nearby regions will see a partial eclipse. Totality is expected to last up to 2 minutes and 10 seconds, with the path starting on the continent in Saavedra, Chile, and ending in Salina del Eje, Argentina, before moving on to the Atlantic Ocean.
NASA will start streaming the eclipse from Chile at 1:40 a.m. AEDT, with a narrated program (in Spanish) beginning at 2:30 a.m. AEDT. Both will be available to watch at Space.com courtesy of NASA or through the agency’s website.