Solar eclipse plunges Chile into darkness

Eclipse-watchers in Chile were not disappointed.
Eclipse-watchers in Chile were not disappointed. Photo credit: Getty Images

Hundreds of thousands of tourists gathered in the north Chilean desert to experience a rare combination for astronomy buffs, a total eclipse of the sun viewed from beneath the world's clearest skies.

Eclipse-watchers in Chile were not disappointed when a 150-kilometre band of total darkness moved eastward across the Pacific Ocean, making landfall in Chile on Tuesday.

The eclipse delighted and amazed those watching with several people sharing photos and videos on Twitter. 

One user said she was "at a loss for words" after watching the eclipse, with another simply captioning her picture "just wow".

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, plunging the planet into darkness.

The best views were from Chile's sprawling Atacama desert north of the coastal city of La Serena, where a lack of humidity and city lights combine to create the world's clearest skies.

In the capital of Santiago, office workers poured from buildings to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon.

"This is something rare that we may never see again," said Marcos Sanchez, a 53-year-old pensioner from Santiago.

The region had not seen an eclipse since 1592, according to the Chilean Astronomy Society. The next one is expected in 2165.

Unfortunately, the eclipse was not visible in New Zealand. 


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