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Total solar eclipse captivates sky-gazers across parts of South America (VIDEOS)

Total solar eclipse captivates sky-gazers across parts of South America (VIDEOS)
Avid sky-watchers have flocked to Chile and Argentina to catch a glimpse of a rare celestial event – a total solar eclipse – which occurs when the Moon blocks out sunlight. The phenomenon lasted for just over two minutes.

The total solar eclipse was best observed from a relatively narrow, 125-mile-wide (200 km) stretch of land across Chile and Argentina. While a few remote islands in the Pacific Ocean were the first to witness the event, thousands of tourists opted to fly to Chile’s Coquimbo region.

The town of La Serena in Coquimbo was first on the eclipse's path across South America. There watchers were treated to over 2 minutes of total eclipse starting at 4:38 pm EDT (2038 GMT). As the eclipse swept further across the Andes, the eerie event could been seen in southeastern Argentina, before its trajectory ended just short of Buenos Aires.

Outside the path of totality, amateur astronomers armed with sets of solar-eclipse glasses enjoyed watching the somewhat less mesmerizing, but still fascinating partial eclipse in the rest of Chile and Argentina, as well as in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and in parts of Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela and Panama.

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