The total event will be visible only from Antarctica, but astronomy fans in the rest of the southern hemisphere, including parts of Chile, New Zealand and Australia, will be able to enjoy a partial eclipse of the sun.

This week the only total solar eclipse will occur this year , but it will be visible only from Antarctica, according to NASA data . The event, which will take place next Saturday, December 4, will reach its maximum extension around 07:33 GMT for spectators near the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf on the Antarctic continent.

However, astronomers from the rest of the southern hemisphere – including parts of Chile , New Zealand, Australia , Namibia, Lesotho, South Africa, the British island of St Helena, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Crozet Islands and Falkland Islands – you can enjoy a partial eclipse. In most of these places, the phenomenon will occur before, during and after sunrise or sunset, which means that observers will need to have a clear view of the horizon in order to see it.

The next total solar eclipse will occur on April 8, 2024 and will be widely visible in Canada, Mexico and the US Meanwhile, in Europe no such astronomical event is expected this century .

When does a solar eclipse occur?

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon is located between the Sun and the Earth , casting a shadow on it and totally or partially blocking the light from the star in some areas of our planet, according to the US space agency.

For a total solar eclipse to occur, the Sun, Moon, and Earth must be aligned. Observers who are in the center of the shadow of the natural satellite when it is placed in front of our planet can see a total eclipse. At that moment, the sky becomes very dark, as if it were sunrise or sunset . If weather conditions permit, those who are in the path of a total eclipse can see the solar corona, that is, the outer atmosphere of the Sun, which is otherwise hidden by the brightness of the star.

How to observe the phenomenon?

NASA warns that it is never safe to look directly at the sun, even if it is partially or largely obscured. To do this, it is necessary to wear solar or eclipse vision glasses (which are not normal sunglasses) throughout the event . If you are in the path of a total solar eclipse, you can remove your solar or eclipse glasses only when the moon is completely blocking the sun. 

If you do not have solar or eclipse glasses, an alternative method is to use a pinhole projector , which should not be used to look directly at the star, but to project sunlight onto a surface.

Additionally, weather permitting, NASA will broadcast a view of the total solar eclipse from Union Glacier in Antarctica.