Science

The only total solar eclipse of 2021 will cross Antarctica early Saturday. Its stages are explained below.

Update for December 4, 2021: The total solar eclipse on December 4 ended over Antarctica. You can watch a video above and see photos and our full story here.

On Saturday, December 4, there will be a total solar eclipse, the first since December 14 of last year, when the dark threshold shadow of the moon obscured parts of the South Pacific, Patagonia (southern Chile and Argentina) and the South. Atlantic. But many fiery eclipse chasers made it through last year’s eclipse due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so very few people witnessed it.

However, with regards to this upcoming solar eclipse, the odds are excellent that only a small contingent of people will be in a position to see it. And where do you have to travel this time to see that the moon completely blots out the sun?

How does Antarctica hit you?

Related: Total Solar Eclipse 2021: When, Where and How to See It on December 4

The tale of the shadow of the moon

Solar Eclipse Photography Guide

The northern edge of the moon’s dark threshold shadow arrives at 2 a.m. EST (0700 GMT) and lands on Earth about 380 miles (611 kilometers) southeast of Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands.

It will take 5 minutes and 48 seconds for the complete threshold shadow to reach the Earth’s surface. At 2:05 am EST (0705 GMT), the umbra’s north / leading edge – running at 2.1 miles (3.4 km) per second – has already traversed 728 miles (1,170 km) to the east and It has crossed the limit at 60 degrees south latitude (as recognized by the National Geographic Society) of the Southern Ocean. Thus, initially the shape of the umbra footprint resembles a thin raindrop, about 84 miles (135 km) at its widest but nearly 1,200 miles (1,900 km) long.

About 250 miles (400 km) east of the northern limit of totality are the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean; a remote and inhospitable collection of islands. No permanent native population lives in the South Sandwich Islands, and a very small non-permanent population resides in South Georgia. King Edward Point is a permanent research station of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) on South Georgia Island and is the capital of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The settlement is the smallest capital in the world by population; Currently, 12 BAS staff members winter at the station, rising to around 22 in the summer. If any of them are out just after sunrise, they will no doubt notice a spooky “false twilight” descending on the island for a couple of minutes thanks to 96% of the solar disk being obscured by the moon.

At around 2:08 a.m. EST (0708 GMT), the umbra will make landfall for the first time in the South Orkney Islands, a group of islands in the Southern Ocean, about 375 miles (604 km) northeast of the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Great Britain and Argentina maintain bases on the islands. The Argentine base, Orcadas, is located on Laurie Island.

Soon after, the umbra will rotate south and then south-southwest over the ice-filled waters of the Weddell Sea, which scientists consider to have the clearest water of any sea, for 23.7 minutes before making its next y last landing in Antarctica. About 66 miles (107 km) northeast of the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf, the point of greatest eclipse, that point along the eclipse path when the distance between the moon’s shadow axis and the geocenter of the Earth reaches a minimum, it occurs at 2:33 am EST (0733 GMT). Here, the duration of totality is 1 minute, 54.4 seconds, and the altitude of the sun is 17.2 degrees.

A NASA animation of the path the total solar eclipse is expected to take on December 4, 2021.

A NASA animation of the path the total solar eclipse is expected to take on December 4, 2021. (Image credit: AT Sinclar / NASA GSFC)

Fifteen seconds later, the umbra makes its first contact with Antarctica, the southernmost continent on Earth; the fifth largest and almost twice the size of Australia. Its land mass is almost entirely covered by a vast ice sheet, which covers 98% of the earth. Its average thickness is about 1,800 meters (5,900 feet). Ice shelves, or layers of ice that float on the sea, cover many parts of the Ross and Weddell Seas. These platforms, the Ross Ice and the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, along with other platforms around the continental margins, border approximately 45% of Antarctica.

Is it any wonder that Antarctica’s nickname is simply “The Ice”?

A composite photo of the stages of a solar eclipse seen from South Mike Sedar Park on August 21, 2017 in Casper, Wyoming.

A composite photo of the stages of a solar eclipse seen from South Mike Sedar Park on August 21, 2017 in Casper, Wyoming. (Image credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

For the next 30.6 minutes, the moon’s umbra will travel southwest, then west, and then northwest, traversing the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, skirting the boundary between Ellsworth Land and West Antarctica, and then past closest to the South Pole – 464 miles (746 km) at 2:50 a.m. EST (0750 GMT), and finally over Marie Byrd Land, where you’ll also pass the Executive Committee Range, a mountain range consisting of five major volcanoes , before returning to the open waters of the Southern Ocean.

By then, the umbra has been stretched back into something like a cigar; Its southern edge has already slid off the Earth’s surface at 3 am EST (0800 GMT) to be followed by the northern edge of the umbra 5 minutes, 45 seconds later.

Meanwhile, the northern belly of the Earth’s outer shadow (called penumbra) skims the southernmost part of the African continent, so that the southern sections of Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, and South Africa see to varying degrees a very small partial eclipse that “dent” the top. from the sun during the early morning. Cape Town has 12% coverage, although in most other cases the amount of sun that is covered is imperceptibly small (Bloemfontein has less than 0.5% coverage!). Later, just before it completely slides off the Earth’s surface, people in the southeastern corner of Australia, most of Tasmania, and the southern tip of New Zealand can see a small “bite” taken from the part top left of the sun just before sunset.

Schedule for solar eclipse on December 4 (all local times) Location Partial eclipse begins Maximum eclipse Partial eclipse ends% of sun covered Palmer Station, Antarctica 3:34 am 4:23 am 5:12 am 94% Emperor Point, Antarctica 3:42 am 4:35 am 5:28 am 100% Melbourne, Australia 7:53 pm 8:12 pm below the horizon 2% Cape Town, South Africa 7:42 am 8:19 am 8:58 am 12% Cabo Kempe, Argentina below the horizon 4:42 am 4:59 am 25%

The proximity of the new moon

Another interesting tidbit is that Saturday’s moon will also make its closest approach (called perigee) to Earth in 2021: 221,702 miles (356,794 km). Even more interesting is that the time the moon comes closest to Earth, at 5:07 am EST (0807 GMT), will come just 144 minutes after the new moon appears.

So both the sun and the moon will be located on the same side of the Earth, with the moon practically at its closest possible point to the Earth. Such “proxigenic” moons can produce the highest tides of the year and, in fact, ocean tides will experience a much greater range than normal for the few days immediately following this new moon. Low tides, for example, will be much lower and high tides much higher than usual (hence the term “spring tide”, “sprout”).

Desperately searching for totality

Going back to the eclipse for a moment, it has been written that those who have witnessed the beauty of a total solar eclipse first hand describe them as the most impressive events nature can offer. People have traveled great distances just to experience those precious moments of seeing the corona, chromosphere, and prominences of the sun.

However, you may be under the impression regarding the December 4 total eclipse, that apart from those few scientists stationed at bases in Antarctica, no one else will experience it. That could have been true 40 years ago. In fact, a total solar eclipse that hit Antarctica in November 1985 was likely only witnessed by a few lucky penguins on the flanks of Mount Sabine.

But believe it or not, there are actually more than a hardy few who are willing to make the trek to the South Polar Region to observe this weekend’s eclipse. There are at least half a dozen cruise ships that will sail into the zone of totality somewhere between the South Orkney Islands and the Weddel Sea in hopes of getting a view of totality.

And I’ll be on one of those boats.

I have been asked to serve on the team of naturalist and scientific guides on board, on Ponant Cruise Lines’ newest expedition ship, Le Commandant-Charcot, a polar-class hybrid electric ship. Guests will disembark in the ice pack to witness the solar eclipse as the moon passes between Earth and the sun. I hope to present a story for Space.com readers about our “Journey into the Dark” and our attempt to meet the shadow of the moon. So stay tuned!

Editor’s Note: If you take an amazing photo of a solar eclipse and would like to share it with Space.com readers, please send your photo (s), comments, and your name and location to spacepramio@.

Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest speaker at the Hayden Planetarium in New York. He writes about astronomy for Natural History magazine, Farmers’ Almanac, and other publications. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

Today’s best deals on Eclipse glasses:

Business Consulting Nulled, WeaPlay, Elementor Pro Weadown, PHP Script, Slider Revolution Nulled, Newspaper – News & WooCommerce WordPress Theme, Avada 7.4 Nulled, Fs Poster Plugin Nulled, Wpml Nulled, Elementor Pro Weadown, Flatsome Nulled,Woodmart Theme Nulled, Jannah Nulled, WordPress Theme, Astra Pro Nulled, Rank Math Seo Pro Weadown, Yoast Nulled, Dokan Pro Nulled, Nulledfire, Wordfence Premium Nulled, Woodmart Theme Nulled, Consulting 6.1.4 Nulled, Jnews 8.1.0 Nulled, Premium Addons for Elementor, Plugins, PW WooCommerce Gift Cards Pro Nulled, WP Reset Pro, Woocommerce Custom Product Ad, Newspaper 11.2

Back to top button