The 2021 total solar eclipse will take place on December 4th in Antarctica. This eclipse will be unusual as the path of the total eclipse will move from east to west across West Antarctica, while most eclipse paths move from west to east. This reversal is only possible in polar regions. Its path across Antarctica will cross near Berkner Island, traverse an arc over the continent, exit, and pass over Shepard Island.
If you substituted penguins for the humans in this photo, the December 4, 2021 total solar eclipse over Antarctica might look something like this. This image was the Astronomy Picture of the Day for April 20, 2015 – a total solar eclipse over Norway. The image is via Thanakrit Santikunaporn..
People located at the southernmost tips of South America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand will experience the partial phases. The path of the moon’s umbral shadow begins in the Southern Ocean about 300 miles (500 km) southeast of the Falkland Island, crosses the Antarctic continent, and ends at sunset in the Southern Ocean. A partial eclipse will be seen within the much broader path of the moon’s penumbral shadow, which includes the Southern Ocean, southern Africa and the southeastern corner of Australia and Tasmania.
The eastern edge of the eclipse path passes within 225 miles (360 km) of South Georgia. Renowned as for its whaling stations during the first half of the 20th century, and as the starting and ending point of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s remarkable attempt to cross the Antarctic continent (1914-1917).
WHAT IS A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE?
A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon serendipitously passes between Earth and the sun, blocking all of the sunlight and casting a shadow onto the Earth. In the center of the moon’s shadow, day turns to night for over four-and-a-half minutes, with the periphery of the path appearing as a partial eclipse. A total solar eclipse is a relatively rare occurrence because the Moon doesn’t orbit in the same plane as the Earth and Sun. But, when the three bodies line up just right, the Moon covers up the disc of the Sun, and those in the direct path of the Moon’s shadow will see the Sun go dark.
WHEN IS THE SOLAR ECLIPSE 2019?
The South Orkney Islands are the only land in the path prior to reaching Antarctica. However, they straddle the western edge of the path with appropriately named Coronation Islands bisected by the path edge. Apart from the personnel at several research stations, there are no permanent inhabitants on the islands. From the eastern coast of easternmost Laurie Island, the duration of totality is 1 minute 8 seconds with the sun 8° above the horizon.
The path continues south across the Weddell Sea where the instant of greatest eclipse occurs at 07:33:27 UTC. The duration is 1 minute 54 seconds, the sun’s altitude is 17°, and the path width is 260 miles (419 km).
Traversing the Ronne Ice Shelf, the path quickly crosses Antarctica and reaches the coast of the Amundsen Sea at 08:01 UTC. The central duration has dropped to 1 minute 38 seconds and the sun is 7° above the horizon. Now heading north, the umbral path ends three minutes later as the shadow lifts off of Earth in the Southern Ocean at 08:04 UTC.
WHAT IS THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF AN ECLIPSE?
A total solar eclipse often has an indescribable effect on observers, and even the most experienced astronomers would concede that a total solar eclipse is the most powerful, gorgeous, and even life-altering of all celestial phenomena.
Like the aurora borealis, a solar totality often invokes involuntary gasps and cries of wonder, with individuals commenting that a special “feeling” accompanies the visual spectacle. Both of these natural events are accompanied by large changes in the amount of incoming electromagnetic radiation. Any ‘feelings’ when watching a solar eclipse can be attributed to exposure to electromagnetic radiation, as increased levels can cause small currents of energy to circulate around the body.
The combined experience of witnessing the beauty of a total eclipse with new physical sensations can result in a spiritual and rewarding experience for many.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO SEE DURING A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE?
During a solar totality, people are likely to observe unusual behaviors and natural phenomena. It has been noted that animals usually fall silent during the event, in comparison to their human counterparts howling and weeping in response to what they’re witnessing.
When viewing the eclipse, spectators can also expect to see flames of nuclear fire visibly erupt like geysers from the sun’s edge and ethereal shimmering dark lines covering the ground. These visual and atmospheric displays help to make watching a total eclipse an even more memorable occasion.
CAN YOU LOOK AT A SOLAR ECLIPSE DIRECTLY?
The team at HALO take safety very seriously and we know that observing the sun can be very dangerous if you don't take the proper precautions. There are many ways to view the eclipse safely using both indirect and direct methods of watching the event as it happens. Looking at the sun without protecting your eyes can lead to long-term damage that could affect your vision, and we would never recommend looking at the solar eclipse directly.
Please read our section on Eclipse Safety HERE to learn more about preparing for the upcoming eclipse.
Continue HERE to view our selection of HALO's ISO 12312-2:2015 certified premium solar eclipse glasses.