SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Tourists in central Chile hoping to experience a total solar eclipse faced disappointment on Monday as thick fog rolled along the coast and rain clouds obscured the sky.
More than 100,000 tourists have traveled to the villages of Lake Pucon and Villarica, despite a recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Chile, according to official reports.
The moon will completely cover the sun on a 90-kilometer narrow strip of South America that stretches from Saavedra, a central port city in Chile to Salina del Eje on Argentina’s Atlantic coast, according to National US Shows Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
“More or less 45 friends came by bus – using all the (health) measures available to us,” said Gloria Orellana, an eclipse fanatic who said she hoped to watch the event from the safety of her cabin next door. Villarica.
But the rain and clouds wiped out the sun in the mountainous, heavily forested region of south-central Chile, leaving the best view to those in the drier north of Chile, where only a partial eclipse is visible.
The moon is expected to start its journey over the sun around 11:38 local time (1438 GMT), and the total solar eclipse will start in Saavedra at 13:00 (1600 GMT).
Although the show is unlikely to be seen in Chile, the eclipse will still plunge the region into total darkness. Such events happen very rarely anywhere in the world.
Chile saw another complete solar eclipse in its northern desert in July 2019, the first in that region since 1592, according to the Chilean Astronomical Society.
Reported by Dave Sherwood and Reuters TV; Edited by Alexander Smith