Eclipse chasers are very excited Solar eclipse They seldom miss these celestial events, even if they have to travel the world to witness them. But the The coronavirus outbreak brought their plans to a halt For this year’s only total solar eclipse.
Monday (December 14th), 2020 total solar eclipse It will sweep across the southern cone in South America, via Chile and Argentina, turning the day into twilights of up to 2 minutes and 10 seconds as the moon passes in front of the sun. The partial eclipse will be visible throughout the continent, as well as parts of southwestern Africa.
But even as some countries around the world begin to loosen specific travel restrictions put in place to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries like Chile have created new lockdowns as they face a new wave of cases. at the same time, Argentina has begun to ease travel restrictionsBut its borders are still closed to tourists from non-neighboring countries.
“I’ve visited every continent to see an eclipse, even Antarctica,” Fred Espenak, a retired astrophysicist and eclipse chaser at NASA told Space.com in an interview. Espinac, also known as “Mr. Eclipse,” ran eclipse prediction models during his tenure at NASA and currently runs EclipseWise.com and MrEclipse.com. He said he had traveled to witness more than 40 solar eclipses, including one Total, Partial, and Annular Eclipses.
“I made a lot of friends from the eclipse, and I met my wife on the eclipse trip,” he said. They met on a tour of a solar eclipse in northern India in 1995. Since then they have traveled together to witness several eclipses, and together they were heading to Chile on a guided trip to attend the December 14 event. He backed out of the trip in October when it became clear to him that A. The COVID-19 vaccine will not be readily available By December. The flight was officially canceled this week when Chile announced New epidemiological restrictions Amid the recent spike in the number of cases.
Instead of traveling, Espinak will join a video call with other eclipse chasers as a community event to watch the eclipse together and hear each other’s comments.
An eclipse has a certain impact for many people.
One of the reasons people follow eclipses is because each event is unique, in terms of duration, location, and appearance. “From one eclipse to the next, the aura varies greatly,” Espenak said. The The auraThe sun’s light (and scorching) corona, is the only part of the sun that can be seen during an eclipse.
One astronomer compared the total solar eclipse to the Mona Lisa.
“One of the comparisons that I use is, if you were a fan of Leonardo de Vinci, and really liked the gazing at the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, how would you feel if you had the opportunity to see the Mona Lisa two minutes every two years?” Glenn Schneider, an astronomer at the University of Arizona, told SPACE.com .org. “And in some years, when you travel to Paris to see it, it can be cloudy that day and you can’t see the Mona Lisa.”
Schneider, who said he witnessed 35 total solar eclipses, said he took the opportunity To study the eclipse for scientific reasons But he does not pursue them for professional reasons. “I am chasing after them because they are only the most wonderful aesthetic thing that you can try.”
Schneider has been banned from travel due to personal risk of COVID-19.
Jay Basachoff, an astronomer at Williams College in Massachusetts, is another eclipse chaser who couldn’t travel in the solar eclipse of December 14. At the age of 77, it was not recommended that he go to airports, he told Space.com in an email. He added that Basachov “will remain safe to see the total eclipse next year and beyond.”
This is only the second total eclipse since 1970 that Basachov has missed, he said, and he watched about 35 of them. Basachov wrote plans to travel to Chile with several other researchers and directors, and some even managed to travel to Chile.
Those in Chile will be taking photos of the eclipse, and Basachov plans to use the footage for observation. Bailey beads. One of the experiments he had planned for this eclipse, the one with a coronal oscillation experiment and her six bags of equipment, had to be left in Massachusetts “because my MIT colleague is not allowed to go.” [to Chile] Causes of Covid. “
Some of the work that Basachov and others can perform in Chile will be facilitated by a local astronomer named Thomas Bozia, a professor at the Institute of Astrophysics at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.
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