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Total solar eclipse will darken the sun Dec. 14: How to (hopefully) watch it

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The European Space Agency shared this multiexposure view of a 2019 solar eclipse totality as seen by its CESAR team at the La Silla Observatory in Chile.

ESA/CESAR

The only total solar eclipse of 2020 is coming up on Dec. 14. This remarkable celestial event will happen when the moon slips in front of the sun, blocking out the fiery disk and creating temporary darkness along its path of totality. 

The eclipse will track across the southern end of South America, ??????? with people in certain regions of Chile and Argentina able to witness the full eclipse in person if the weather’s clear. Well-placed boats or ships in parts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans may also have a shot at seeing the total eclipse.

People within a band outside the narrow path of totality should be able to catch a partial eclipse, which looks like a bite out of the sun. Check out NASA’s map to see the limits of the viewing zone.

It may be tricky to catch the eclipse this month. The Exploratorium in San Francisco usually offers a livestream, but that won’t be happening now. “To keep our staff, our colleagues, and our communities safe during this coronavirus pandemic, the Exploratorium won’t be sending a team to Chile to cover the December 14, 2020 solar eclipse as planned,” the science museum announced.

Time and Date is still hoping to provide a livestream on Dec. 14, ?????? but the pandemic has left coverage plans uncertain. 

If you’re one of the lucky few who get to see the eclipse on the ground, then be sure to observe the usual cautions. Never look directly at the sun. Use proper solar eclipse glasses, or make a pinhole projector.

To get yourself pumped for this event, be sure to look back at 2020’s rare “ring of fire” eclipse from June.

Learn more about viewing safety, dive into how eclipses work and brush up on your vocabulary in our guide to watching solar and lunar eclipses.

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