Antarctica and South America see epic solar eclipse send-off

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption At the time, Scott could see the sun dip below the horizon below the snow-covered mountains near McMurdo

A total solar eclipse that will cross Earth from South America to Africa has been given an epic send-off as it touched down over Antarctica.

The journey will take 24 hours and will leave two parts of the world at the same time.

The eclipse began at 1413 GMT on Monday in Argentina and South Africa. As the moon moves between the Earth and the sun, the sun starts to block out the light.

As the sun’s position is about the same as Earth’s, the moon can only appear to block more than the sun to the eye.

Once the eclipse reaches the waters of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station (AmSPCS), observers at higher latitude will be able to see the moon completely block the sun’s light.

Observers have been warned to be safe when viewing the eclipse at the AmSPCS but others are taking to social media in good humour.

Martin Kirstein, public astronomer at AmSpCS, told the BBC the unique eclipse at the AmSPCS won’t be repeated again until 2050.

He said some experts had predicted the first total solar eclipse in Antarctica would take place in 1948, but “a wall of ice swept through the station at the last minute”.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption By the time the moon passes directly between the Earth and the sun, onlookers in Antarctica will have seen as much as 100% coverage

The space observatory has put out this video showing the eclipse as it originated. The video has been extended to give more historical context.

The total eclipse will pass over Antarctica late on Monday, and last until early on Tuesday.

To view live feed of the event from Antarctica, tune into BBC Earth Facebook, BBC Earth YouTube, BBC Earth on Twitter and YouTube, or NASA TV.

You can check back for any updates about the solar eclipse as it happens.

How to protect your eyes

In the UK, those who want to watch the total eclipse using a mobile phone have been advised to first turn off or put on the screen’s brightness setting to make it easier to view the eclipse’s natural beauty.

The solar eclipse is happening around the same time as a planned partial eclipse (the range of 98% to 99%) in the UK.

In Scotland, the partial eclipse will take place in about the same time the total eclipse will.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption If you plan to view the solar eclipse without protection, you can get the appropriate glasses to watch the sun

There are lots of different glasses and filters that may be offered by retailers to allow you to safely view the eclipse.

Use them wisely and a strong beam of light won’t harm the next generation of solar eclipse viewers.

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