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When and Where to Watch This Afternoon’s Total Solar Eclipse

You can leave the telescope at home.

Flickr/NASA Goddard Space Center

There’s going to be a total solar eclipse tonight, but unless you live in a narrow region of South America you won’t need those glasses you picked up in 2017 because it won’t be passing over you.

The path of today’s eclipse mostly lies over the South Pacific Ocean, starting about 1,400 miles west of Auckland. It will, however, end over South America, terminating just south of Buenos Aires.

Paul Cox, the chief astronomical officer at Slooh, a website that provides live views from robotic telescopes, says that the path of this year’s eclipse makes it tough to capture.

“Unlike the 2017 eclipse, and except for a tiny uninhabited South Pacific island, the path of totality — the 90-mile wide path of the Moon’s umbral shadow — only makes landfall across a narrow stretch of Chile and Argentina. Having raced across the Pacific Ocean at over 6,000 mph, by the time the Moon’s shadow reaches the west coast of Chile, the Sun will be low to the horizon, with the partial eclipse phases occurring just as the Sun is setting.”

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So what’s an American-bound stargazer to do? The short answer: track it and stream it.

First, the tracking. Astronomer Xavier M. Jubier put together a NASA-recommended interactive map that’s free to use (though he does accept donations) and has more data that you’ll need about when and where the eclipse will be visible.

Second, the streaming. NASA’s live stream, based out of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, starts today at 3 p.m. Eastern time, noon Pacific.

The agency will share live views sans commentary from telescopes in Vicuna, Chile for three hours. In the middle hour, it will also provide programs with expert commentary in English and Spanish, respectively.

The European Space Observatory will be providing similar programming from its La Silla Observatory in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

The Weather Channel is streaming its own broadcast between 4:00 and 5:00 pm Eastern time, or you could try a free trial of Slooh. The service has observatories in Chile and Argentina that will provide the bulk of today’s views.

The next total solar eclipse will be the day after Christmas, and it will be visible from Saudi Arabia and Oman. The next to pass over the U.S. will be on April 8, 2024. It will be visible over Texas, Arkansas, the Ohio Valley, Western New York, and northern New England.