Home / Science / Many international visitors to see solar eclipse next month in Chile

Many international visitors to see solar eclipse next month in Chile

The world's last total solar eclipse occurred in August 2017. Millions of Americans stopped what they did to observe the eclipse that passed over parts of the entire United States.

A total solar eclipse happens when the sun, moon and earth match perfectly. The next total eclipse will happen on July 2.

However, the total eclipse can only be seen in a few places in the world. This year, the overall route will pass over areas in Chile and Argentina. The American space organization NASA says the sun will be completely hidden by the moon for up to four minutes and 33 seconds during this eclipse.

The upcoming event has led people from all over the world to plan to travel to the Northern Coquimbo region of Chile where the total eclipse is expected to be visible . Local officials say they expect more than 400,000 visitors to the area.

  People watching the solar eclipse on the lawn in Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California, USA, August 21<div class="e3lan e3lan-in-post1"><script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script>
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People watching the solar eclipse on the lawn of Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California, USA, August 21, 2017. [19659007] A total eclipse is rare. The European Southern Observatory estimates that every single place on earth sees only one on average once every 360 years. Visitors from all over the world are expected to flood Coquimbo in the coming weeks for a chance to witness this unusual event.

The Coquimbo region is located on the Pacific coast at the foot of the Andes Mountains. Heavy demand means that many hotel rooms are full in front of eclipse.

Flights to Coquimbo are offered by Chile LATAM Airlines and low cost airlines Sky and JETSMART. Travel agents report flight tickets sold very quickly.

A clock in the coastal town of La Serena shows a countdown to the big day. "People have become mad," one person from the city told Reuters about all local excitement. "They want the day to come as soon as possible."

Chile is a popular place for astronomers to visit. The country has many large international research telescopes.

"It is a unique opportunity ," said Chilean astronomer Ivo Saviane to Reuters from the La Silla observatory he oversees. "For everyone, whether from Chile or abroad, it's exciting."

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera is one of 150 " VIPs " with tickets to watch the sunset at La Silla. Piñera has identified the eclipse as one of the most important events in Chile this year. The country will hold several major international conferences in 2019.

Luis Calderon is an engineer in La Serena. He told Reuters that he believes the cost and effort to visit Chile will be well worth it. "You have to be here to see it, even if it's just a few minutes," he said.

I'm Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on a report from Reuters and online sources. Mario Ritter was the editor.

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very important person: someone who is known by powerful and treated in a special way

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