On December 14, 2020, a total solar eclipse will occur. In today’s article, we’ll tell you when, where, and how you can observe this spectacular astronomical event.
What is a Total Solar Eclipse?
Solar eclipses happen when the New Moon moves into such a position between the Sun and the Earth to fully or partially block out the Sun’s rays. A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon completely covers the solar disk in the sky.
If the Earth’s and Moon’s orbits were in the same orbital plane, a total solar eclipse would occur every New Moon. However, the Moon’s orbit is tilted at about 5 degrees to the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. For this reason, to observers from the Earth, the Moon usually passes either above or below the Sun each month.
Every year, from two to five solar eclipses occur on the Earth — and not more than two of them can be total. This December’s total solar eclipse will be the only one in 2020.
If you want to learn more interesting facts about solar and lunar eclipses, take our fun and challenging quiz!
How to Watch the Total Solar Eclipse of 2020?
The only total solar eclipse of 2020 will occur on December 14. It will begin to the west of South America at 09:32 EDT (14:32 GMT) and end to the west of Southern Africa at 12:54 EDT (17:54 GMT). The maximum length of totality for observers from the Earth will be 2 minutes and 10 seconds. Unfortunately, most of the world won’t get a chance to see the total solar eclipse, as it will be visible only from parts of Chile and Argentina. For Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay it will be a partial solar eclipse.
The best way to learn the eclipse’s exact time for your location is to use Eclipse Guide. This app was designed specifically for eclipse chasers. You can see how the eclipse will look from your location and learn when its maximum phase will occur on the “Sky” tab. Here, you can also set notifications for particular phases of the eclipse. On the “Path” and “Map” tabs, you can visualize the eclipse’s path across the globe and learn about the best places for eclipse observation.
If you’re lucky enough to see the eclipse, remember about safety precautions. Never look directly at the Sun and use proper solar eclipse glasses. Otherwise, the Sun’s rays can cause serious damage to your eyes.
We wish you clear skies and happy observations!