ALMA prepares for the 2020 Eclipse in Araucanía
Students and teachers from schools of San Pedro de Atacama and Toconao received solar glasses from ALMA to observe the 2019 solar eclipse safely. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

ALMA prepares for the 2020 Eclipse in Araucanía

3 December, 2020 / Read time: 2 minutes

We are about to witness the most anticipated astronomical phenomenon of the year in Chile and neighboring countries. On Monday, December 14, just past 1:00 pm, Chile's southern sky, specifically the Araucanía Region, will go dark for a few minutes as the Moon completely covers the Sun.

In preparation for this experience that will be historical for many people, ALMA is giving out glasses to teachers in the Araucanía Region to observe the eclipse safely. It is also preparing a live streaming (in Spanish) across its platforms (Facebook and YouTube) to provide a way to enjoy the event for those who cannot travel to the eclipse zone.

A year after the total eclipse of the Sun in northern Chile, specifically in the Coquimbo Region, Chileans will once again have the privilege of enjoying this fantastic phenomenon. It is an opportunity that must be seized, as it will not repeat in continental Chile until November 25, 2049.

ALMA will not stay out of the action. Sean Dougherty, Director of this radio telescope, explains that "Thanks to ALMA's campaign in collaboration with a dozen other institutions, we were able to distribute a total of 36,000 eclipse lenses. Most of these are already being distributed to the Araucanía region teachers to safely observe the Sun from that privileged area to best appreciate the eclipse as it happens."

In conjunction with other institutions, especially regional universities, the purchase of these glasses has made it possible to access preferential prices and include shared logos.

The glasses are being distributed among teachers in the Araucanía Region through the Ministry of Education, which has the necessary logistics to reach the schools through the Covid-19 situation.

The Education Regional Secretary for Araucanía, Juan Luis Salinas, thanked the observatory for the important donation, which "will make it possible to distribute glasses to all teachers in municipal and subsidized private schools in Araucanía. At the Ministry of Education, we are the first to insist on the importance of protecting our eyesight so that we can all enjoy this eclipse safely."

There is even a filter in Instagram to have fun with the glasses over social networks with your friends! (Of course the virtual glasses are not intended to really observe the Sun!). For more information about the eclipse glasses campaign and the other institutions involved, click here.