Pandemic Steals My Eclipses

The Total Solar Eclipse of December 14, 2020, was going to be my return to eclipse chasing after taking a few years off after 30 years of non-stop chasing. Did it happen? Of course not. Covid happened.

The ship I was supposed to be on – sailing up the spectacular Chilean coast into totality.  Nope.

The expedition company that hired me as the eclipse expert on this voyage cancelled the trip due to challenges with the pandemic. I was crushed. But in truth, it would have been very difficult to operate the expedition safely with Covid raging out of control in the days and months before vaccines. But if they had let me, I would have risked it!  But given how the weather turned out on the day – we wouldn’t have seen very much because waves of rain and moisture covered the Chilean coastline at eclipse time.  Only observers well inland in Argentina had clear skies for the event.  Most eclipse chasers that I know stayed safely at home and tuned into live streams of the eclipse – broadcast by local Chileans and Argentinians who were also at home.

The massive, dark, foreboding shadow of the Moon slips across the western hemisphere on eclipse day 2020 – bringing delight and disappointment in equal measure.


You can easily see the streams of cloud and moisture hugging the coast immediately inside the eclipse path on the Chilean coast and into the mainland of Argentina.

The predicted path of the eclipse through Chile and Argentina.  December 14, 2020.

Screen Caps from some of the live stream events I watched from home:


The Global Eclipse Festival – inland in Argentina – had a lot of problems getting up and running – and thousands of international revellers didn’t attend because of the pandemic.  It was mostly locals who held down the fort on the day – and even though I never saw a shot of totality, it looks like they had clear skies.


Look how nasty the weather is for the NASA Live Stream!

This one in Argentina faired much better.

And the event was barely seen through mist and cloud.

One of the few eclipses in recent memory that was more powerful from the satellite shots!





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