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What Time the Solar Eclipse December 2021 Starts and How to Watch Live

The eclipse will mainly occur over Antarctica, but NASA will be streaming the event for viewers to watch online.

A solar eclipse is due to occur this weekend, and although few people will get the chance to see it fully in person, NASA has said it will be hosting a livestream of the event, weather permitting.

The solar eclipse is due to take place tomorrow, December 4, and it will reach its fullest point at 2:34 a.m. ET.

NASA states the eclipse will be streamed on YouTube and on nasa.gov/live starting at 1:30 a.m. ET, courtesy of Theo Boris and Christian Lockwood of the JM Pasachoff Antarctic Expedition. However, NASA's NASA TV channel schedule didn't appear to mention the eclipse stream as of Friday morning.

Newsweek has contacted NASA for clarification.

The eclipse won't be visible from North America or anywhere in the northern hemisphere. In fact, the only place where it will be possible to see the total eclipse in person will be Antarctica.

An animation of the eclipse's shadow and its predicted path around the Earth can be seen on TimeAndDate.com, which shows how most countries will be unable to observe it directly.

Some countries will be able to catch a partial glimpse, though. According to NASA, people living in parts of Saint Helena, Namibia, Lesotho, South Africa, South Georgia and Sandwich Islands, Crozet Islands, Falkland Islands, Chile, New Zealand and Australia might be able to see a partial solar eclipse on Saturday, depending on the local weather.

It should be noted that it is never safe to look directly at the sun, so anyone viewing a solar eclipse in person must wear solar viewing or eclipse glasses. These are not the same as regular sunglasses, which are unsafe for viewing the sun.

Watching Safely

Looking directly at the sun can cause serious eye damage, since ultraviolet light burns a sensitive part of our eyes called the retina. Damage can occur in seconds and may permanently impair vision, Healthline states.

More information on eye safety during a total solar eclipse can be found here.

Solar eclipses occur when the moon moves between the sun and the Earth. This causes the moon to block the sun's light for a short time, either partially or fully depending on where on the planet the eclipse is being observed.

During a total solar eclipse, parts of the Earth may turn as dark as night for a brief period of time. If one were to look towards the sun at this time, they would see the sun's corona—the outermost part of the sun's atmosphere—around the moon.

According to NASA, the next solar eclipse will take place on April 30, 2022. It will be a partial eclipse, and should be visible from the southeast Pacific and southern South America.

Solar eclipse
A solar eclipse as seen from Madras, Oregon, in August 2017. Solar eclipses occur when the moon comes between the sun and the Earth. Rob Kerr/AFP / Getty
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