Chilean clouds, coronavirus, outlook for tourists of the solar eclipse

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Tourists in central Chile hoping to experience a total solar eclipse faced disappointment on Monday as thick fog spread along the coast and rain clouds obscured the sky.

According to official reports, more than 100,000 tourists had traveled to the lakeside villages of Pucon and Villarica, despite a recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Chile, according to official reports.

The moon is expected to completely cover the sun across a narrow 90km swath of South America, extending from Saavedra, a central Pacific Chilean port city to Salina del Eje, on Argentina’s Atlantic coast, data from the US National Performances. Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

“About 45 friends came by bus, using all (sanitary) measures at our disposal,” said Gloria Orellana, an eclipse fanatic who said she hoped to witness the event from the safety of her cabin near Villarica.

But rain and clouds had obscured the sun in the mountainous and forested region of south-central Chile, leaving the best view for those in the drier north of Chile, where only a partial eclipse can be seen.

The moon is expected to start its path through the sun at around 11:38 am local time (1438 GMT) and the total solar eclipse will begin in Saavedra at 13:00 (1600 GMT).

Although the show will likely not be seen all over Chile, the eclipse will still plunge the region into total darkness. Such events only rarely happen in any given place around the world.

Chile saw another complete solar eclipse in its northern desert in July 2019, the first in that region since 1592, according to the Chilean Astronomy Society.

Reportage by Dave Sherwood and Reuters TV; Editing by Alexander Smith