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the best places to see it

Marina Fernandez 7 min
Solar Eclipse Antarctica
On December 4, 2021, the Total Solar Eclipse can be seen from Antarctica.

Very few will be the lucky ones who will be able to witness, from the fringe of totality, this great eclipse of the Sun next December 4, 2021. There are some options to be able to observe how the day in Antarctica becomes completely “night”, the opportunity is in some Antarctic military and scientific bases, by sea via cruise ships, or from the air in special flights.

When it happens at dawn and in the austral summer, the Sun will be close to the horizon line, that can make it a bit difficult to observe in the case of cloudiness, but if you can see the passage of the Moon in front of the solar disk it will be an unforgettable moment.

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exist very few strategic sites to observe this total solar eclipse. The lucky ones who can undertake any of the options that we are going to tell you will not only have an incredible astronomical experience, but it will be unique because it is accompanied by one of the most fascinating scenery on the planet attached to the white continent.

Argentine base South Orcadas

The ideal point to see the eclipse is located near the Orkney Islands and around the Weddell Sea. This archipelago of the South Atlantic is located 600 km from the Argentine Antarctic Peninsula, there only inhabit scientists and military personnel from the Argentine Orcadas Base.

According to calculations, from Argentine base South Orcadas on the Isla Laurie, the sunrise will be at 2.33 AM (Argentine time for all the times that we will quote), the start of the eclipse will be 3.20 AM, and the start of the total eclipse (the most spectacular part of all) at 4.08 AM with the Sun at a height of 8 ° above the horizon. The duration of the total eclipse will be for this point 1 minute and 3 seconds.

Solar Eclipse Antarctica
The Argentine South Orcadas Base inhabited only by scientists and military personnel, has the ideal location to see the total solar eclipse.

In the strip of totality the solar disk will be covered 100%, but the closer to that area the observer is, the more proportion of the Sun will be covered by the Moon. For example, from the Base argentina Belgrano II the percentage covered will be 99% at 4.33 AM at a height of 19.9º above the horizon.

You will see a 96% from the Chilean base Eduardo Frei (South Shetland) at 4.17 AM, on the Argentine base Esperanza at 4.18 AM, and at Argentine base Marambio the maximum of the eclipse will be at 4.19 AM and at 6.5 °.

The eclipse from a cruise ship

For a long time, several companies specializing in Antarctic cruises have been planning the navigation, with a very special touch for this great event on December 4. They schedule cruises with a very complete itinerary of tour with several stops for at least 3 weeks. The maritime tour from a special cruise ship or expedition yacht has some mobility, and that increases the possibilities of observation, but of course, as you may be imagining, its cost varies from 21 to 78 thousand dollars.

Solar Eclipse Antarctica Argentina
Detailed map of the route of the solar eclipse of December 4, 2021 in Antarctica. Image: timeanddate.com

The most luxurious of ships who will travel to see the eclipse is the Commander-Charcot de Ponant, with a capacity for 245 passengers. In addition, it is the world’s first hybrid icebreaker-cruiser and will set sail this Monday, November 29 from Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. After passing between the South Shetland Islands, you will go to a point in the Wedell Sea to see the total eclipse (if the cloud cover allows it) surrounded by an icy and rough sea.

Commander of the Antarctica-Charcot Ponant Cruise Ship
Ponant’s Commandant-Charcot is the most luxurious cruise ship to travel to Antarctica. Image: cruises.com.ar

Another option is offered by the renowned company Argentinian Explorer, via a cruise to Antarctica to observe the astronomical event from the Scottish Sea, also setting sail from the province of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Will be aboard the M / V “Plancius” a ship built in 1976 for the Royal Dutch Navy Oceanographic Research, in 2004 it was acquired by Oceanwide Expeditions for 900 thousand euros and rebuilt in its entirety.

The ship should be positioned in the center of the moon’s shadow cast over the exact portion of ocean. This trip also includes visiting the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island and the Antarctic Peninsula.

The idea of ​​these great excursions is that on board the cruise there is a team of astronomers who will explain and guide the passengers so that they can see it with all the security measures, which are very necessary in these cases to avoid eye injuries irreversible.

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Ships Janssonius (sailed on Thursday, November 24), and Hondius (He left a day later), capacity for 170 passengers are heading to the astronomical and icy adventure. Additionally, at least three National Geographic vessels will be searching for the best observation in the ocean.

The cruise MS Roald Amundsen, sailed last Wednesday, November 24 from Punta Arenas, Chile. What’s more, Hurtigruten is another company that offers the Antarctic trip of your dreams, the ship MS Fram sailed on November 22 from Ushuaia Heading to the Falkland Islands, after a week of travel he will land in the South Georgia Islands, and arriving on the 13th day of the trip (December 4) they will have the most unique moment of all, the eclipse.


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