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Rare total solar eclipse darkens sun over Chile, Argentina

A solar eclipse is observed at Coquimbo, Chile, on Tuesday. (REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido)

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Rare total solar eclipse darkens sun over Chile, Argentina

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The first total solar eclipse since 2017 darkened the heavens over Chile and Argentina on Tuesday as tens of thousands of tourists and locals gaped skyward.

WHAT CAUSES A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE?

Tourists from around the world gathered to witness the spectacle.

The eclipse made its first appearance over Chile at 3:22 p.m. above La Serena, a city of some 200,000 people where the arrival of more than 300,000 visitors forced the local water company to increase output and service gas stations to store extra fuel. Police and health services were also reinforced.

The total eclipse began there at 4:38 p.m., and lasted about two and a half minutes.

Northern Chile is known for clear skies, and some of the largest, most powerful telescopes on Earth are being built in the area, turning the South American country into a global astronomy hub.

The town of La Higuera was plunged into darkness.

“We hope this milestone will transform [the town] into a tourist attraction, so that visitors … can come to La Higuera and take a picture where there once was a total sun eclipse,” Mayor Yerko Galleguillos said.

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Town officials distributed more than 2,000 cardboard-frame protective eyeglasses at local schools and community centers.

The Associated Press contributed to this article. 

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