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total eclipse of the sun

How to watch today's total solar eclipse

For the first time since August 2017, humanity will get to witness a total solar eclipse. Expected to peak around 4:30 p.m. ET, the path of the total eclipse will cut across South America, visible from Chile and Argentina. A partial eclipse will also be visible from Ecuador, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

While "tens of thousands of tourists" are flocking to northern Chile for an optimal view of the rare celestial event, as Fox News reported, there's no reason it can't be enjoyed by people across the world.

A solar eclipse occurs when the shadow of the moon blocks out most of the sunlight, leaving only a halo of light (which should not be looked at directly). Scientists plan to study this one in order to help them "understand the source and behavior of solar radiation that drives space weather near Earth," NASA said in a statement. They'll be able to use the data in future manned missions to the moon and Mars.

For those of us not lucky enough to be in the "path of totality," where the total solar eclipse will be most clearly visible, NASA is offering a livestream of the event, starting at 3 p.m. ET, which you can watch below. But if you really want to catch one with your own eyes, the next total solar eclipse that will be visible from the U.S. will occur in 2024. Shivani Ishwar