Over the weekend, NASA reported that a total solar eclipse was coming to Earth once again. The only total solar eclipse of the year is a major event — but if you live in North America, it was one that probably went sight-unseen. Indeed, “some people in the Southern Hemisphere” could see it, per NASA, but for the rest of us? Tough s***.
You probably missed the only total solar eclipse expected anywhere on Earth this year as NASA noted that viewers from Australia to South Africa to Chile could see a partial eclipse of the sun – when the moon passes in front of part of the sun, not entirely. Viewers even further south could see a total eclipse, where the moon passes entirely in front of the sun for a brief period of time.
Wait, what do you mean viewers south of Australia and Chile? Who lives south of Australia?
As it turns out, not a lot of people got to see the total eclipse — because who lives south of Australia? Not many people. The eclipse was limited to Antarctica – where really just a few thousand scientists and research base staff could spot it, according to Live Science.
At around 2:45 in the morning East Coast time on Sunday, the moon passed directly between the sun and the Earth over the west side of Antarctica, with the total eclipse visible in an arc from the Weddell Sea all the way across Marie Byrd Land. (Need a refresher on your Antarctic geography?)
In addition to those scientists, a couple hundred tourists aboard a cruise ship were also in some prime eclipse-viewing zone, reports Space.com. But, the publication adds, they had a few too many clouds overhead to notice anything other than the sky getting a little darker. In scientific terms, this is what’s known as a “bummer.”
Luckily, for the rest of us, NASA did us the favor of taping it, reports Mashable. You can watch, but be forewarned – they taped the whole progression, meaning the video lasts almost two hours. If you don’t want to stare at a slowly moving shot of the moon working toward an eclipse that already happened, you can fast forward to about one hour and seven minutes into it, Mashable notes, where the total eclipse shows up.
The last total eclipse of the sun visible from the United States took place in Summer 2017 – you might remember squinting up through handmade eclipse glasses. But if you missed that one, and weren’t around in Antarctica to catch this time around, you won’t have to wait too long: the next total eclipse to reach America will take place in 2024, along a stretch from Texas to Maine.
Last time, hotels booked up quickly as people flocked along the path of totality (find a more hardcore sounding science phrase than “path of totality,”) to catch this rare event. So, with less than three years to go before the next one… you might want to start making plans.