This year’s only total eclipse is happening in the Southern Hemisphere on Tuesday. In ancient times, the disappearance of the sun during an eclipse was cause for superstition of danger and bad fortune. Many cultures created stories about quarreling gods to justify why eclipses occur. Even today, people believe myths about solar eclipses being dangerous or harmful to pregnancies. In fact, people in India still fast during a solar eclipse because of the belief that food cooked during the sun’s absence is poisonous.
Of course, none of these superstitions are true. A total solar eclipse is simply when the moon’s rotational path goes directly between the Earth and the Sun, causing a shadow on the Earth’s surface. But this doesn’t happen monthly during the new moon because the moon’s axis is on a tilt, similar to the Earth’s rotational tilt on its journey around the sun.
On average, solar eclipses occur about every 18 months, but this is the only one of 2019. With a majority of this eclipse taking place over the Pacific Ocean, portions of Chile and Argentina are the only two countries that will experience totality. But you can still watch the eclipse here from Mississippi! NASA is partnering with the San Francisco Exploratorium to live stream the eclipse online starting at 2:23 PM CT. That live telescope view will be broadcast from a National Science Foundation observatory in Chile’s Atacama Desert. The next eclipse that will occur over the United States won’t happen until 2024.