November 18, 2020 #ChileDiverse

Why will the upcoming eclipse in La Araucanía be so special for astronomers?

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Eclipse 2020

A little more than a year after the astronomical phenomenon that turned Chile into the epicenter of the world's attention and connected millions of people around the world to witness a total solar eclipse, on December 14, 2020, this country at the end of the world will once again witness an event that will force us to press pause and look at the sky.

If in 2019 it happened in the driest desert on the planet -the Atacama Desert- this year it will be in the middle of forests, volcanoes and lakes, in connection with the nature and culture of La Araucanía and its surroundings. And from the scientific world, they explain why this year will be one not to forget.

To understand the reasons, we talked to Chilean astronomer Mario Hamuy, 2015 National Prize for Exact Sciences, Head of Mission of the AURA observatories in Chile and President of the Chilean Astronomy Foundation. What are the differences between the July 2019 eclipse and the December 2020 eclipse?

In other words, the difference in light between the minutes before and during the eclipse will be much stronger, which will undoubtedly leave everyone impressed. The phenomenon will be visible in its entirety in places such as Puerto Saavedra, Villarrica and Pucón, among others, for a duration of about 2 minutes, depending on the place of observation. Despite the fact that in La Araucanía there are no large astronomical observatories in northern Chile, the December event will be of great scientific interest, because it will help to reveal a mystery that astronomers from all over the world have wanted to decipher.

The curious thing is that the surface of the sun has a temperature of about 6,000 degrees Celsius, while the solar envelope, in this case the bright corona that forms as a result of the eclipse reaches temperatures exceeding 1,000,000 degrees Celsius. The reason behind this abysmal heat difference remains a mystery to this day, and the December 2020 phenomenon in La Araucanía will be a key event for astrophysicists around the world.

What we will see in December will undoubtedly be another demonstration of the power of the sun and the moon when they align. The great astronomical observation centers of the world are already present in northern Chile, but by the end of 2020, professionals like Mario Hamuy who use these renowned facilities will have to travel thousands of kilometers further south to witness this new phenomenon of astral nature.




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