Antarctica observes total eclipse, next one expected in 2039
For a few minutes in the early hours on Saturday, a total eclipse was observed over Antarctica.
NASA shared a video of the event taken from the Union Glacier. According to Space.com, the continent was in the best position to see the phenomenon.
The total eclipse was a rare event in Antarctica, only to have happened one other time in the last century.
According to FOX Weather, a total eclipse last happened over Antarctica in November 2003, and it won't happen again until 2039, according to the U.S. Antarctic Program. Total eclipses happen about every 18 months, but most occur around Earth's middle latitudes.
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"Eclipses near the poles are generally rare because the polar regions take up less space, so the Moon’s shadow falls on them less frequently," according to the Antarctic Sun.
Researchers from the Space Science Institute in Los Angeles, California, used the unique opportunity to study Earth's ionosphere, according to FOX Weather. As the sunlight dims closer to totality, researchers measured changes to learn about differences in electrical currents between the two hemispheres.
"The eclipse is a natural experiment for us," Space Science Institute geophysicist Michael Hartinger told the Antarctic Sun. "It's giving us the closest thing we can get to controlled conditions for understanding these asymmetries between the north and the south."
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The team used measurements from Greenland and Antarctica to study the changes during the eclipse.
According to NASA, a solar eclipse happens when the moon moves between the sun and Earth, casting a shadow on Earth, fully or partially blocking the Sun’s light in some areas. For a total solar eclipse to take place, the Sun, Moon, and Earth must be in a direct line.
FOX Weather contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.