Thousands of people turned their heads to the sky to watch a solar eclipse that lasted about two minutes on Monday as southern Chile and Argentina were plunged into darkness.
Heavy rain had threatened to prevent stargazers in Chile from seeing the solar eclipse, but at the last moment the clouds parted just enough for the phenomenon to be partially visible.
“It was beautiful, unique. The truth is that no one had much hope to see it because of the weather and the clouds, but it was unique because it became clear just in time. It was a miracle,” an emotional Matias Tordecilla . 18, said AFP in the city of Pucon on the shores of Lake Villarrica.
“It’s something that you not only see with your eyes, but feel with your heart,” added Tordecilla, who traveled 10 hours with his family to see the solar eclipse.
It was the second total solar eclipse for Chile in the past 18 months.
It hit at 1:00 p.m. (1600 GMT) as thousands of tourists and residents gathered in hopes that the clouds would clear in time.
“It gave me goose bumps everywhere,” said Pucon-based Cinthia Vega.
In Patagonia, Argentina, several families and foreigners camped between the towns of Villa El Chocon and Piedra del Aguila to see the solar eclipse.
While it was not raining there, strong winds threatened to impair visibility.
Despite the restrictions on movement from COVID-19, almost 300,000 tourists had arrived in the Araucania region around 800 kilometers south of the capital Santiago.
Dozens of amateur and professional scientists set up telescopes on the slopes of the Villarrica volcano – one of the most active in Chile – to observe the phenomenon when the moon moves between the sun and earth.
The solar eclipse should be visible along a 90 kilometer wide corridor from the Pacific coast in Chile over the Andes to Argentina.
In July 2019, around 300,000 people gathered in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, where several observatories were located, to observe the previous solar eclipse.
Major heavenly events in 2021
January 3: Quadrantid meteor shower
May 6th: Eta Aquarids meteor shower
August 12th: Perseid meteor shower
December 4th: Total solar eclipse, visible in Antarctica, South Africa, South Atlantic
December 14th: Geminid meteor shower.