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 Total Solar Eclipse of 2021 December 4
 in Antarctica from the icecap, an eclipse flight or cruise

The point of greatest eclipse (totality phase during 1 min 54 sec) lies just at the edge of the Antarctic continent, just north of the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf. This eclipse is the next in Saros after the historic total on 2003 November 23 near Novolazarevskaya, one of the Russian research stations in Antarctica.
Antarctica and the entire Southern Ocean are renowned for wild weather and the most important factor in witnessing a solar eclipse is of course clear skies. So I’ll propose three options: first for about 38,000€, an aircraft will fly you straight from Punta Arenas in southern Chile, or Ushuaia in Argentina, to Union Glacier in Antarctica from where the eclipse can be observed; second an exclusive eclipse flight (10,000 to 28,000€) with marvelous sightseeing and third an eclipse cruise on an expedition yacht (21,000 to 78,000€).

You can use this solar eclipse calculator to compute the local circumstances of the eclipse, and the solar eclipse timer notifies the beginning of the various events. A time exposure calculator is there to help you choose your camera settings.

Click on thumbnails for a larger version

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Total Solar Eclipse 2021
Eclipse circumstances

Total Solar Eclipse 2021 December Cloud Cover
Average cloudiness in December along the path of totality
(courtesy of Jay Anderson)

Total Solar Eclipse 2021 Animation
Eclipse animation

There are three possibilities to witness this eclipse: seaborne from a cruise ship, icecap-borne, or else airborne from an aircraft. Weather-wise the airborne option is the only one that can nearly guarantee you to see it, moreover with a totality duration at its highest. The icecap "ground" option has reasonably good weather prospects, while the seaborne one is questionable although thanks to some mobility your chances become acceptable. Budget-wise the least expensive option is the airborne one, followed by the cruise one and last the "ground" one. In the end your final choice will necessarily be a compromise based on your expectations and preferences, each option having its advantages and drawbacks.
The chart below does provide some clues, knowing that viewing from the icecap will most likely not occur from the centerline because of logistical constraints and as such is outside the frame of this graph. One can notice that the airborne option offers a greater totality duration while at the same time almost guarantee to see this eclipse contrary to other choices. Durations are computed for the centerline at the indicated elevation: for example FL390 means "Flight Level 390" or 39,000 feet (11,887 meters).

Total Solar Eclipse December 2021 Antarctica Duration Solar Elevation

It’s obvious that the solar elevation will be the most favorable for the eclipse flight to the point of maximum duration, but also for an observation from the icecap. Cruise ships passengers will have at best an elevation of about 9 degrees at most as they can not go farther than about 61 degrees south because of the drifting pack ice. The eclipse flights at sunrise are a special case because thanks to the horizon dip the eclipse will be at about 3 degrees above the horizon, less if there are clouds at the horizon which is likely.
In any event this Antarctic eclipse, likely to be unforgettable, should not be a miss.

Union Glacier Camp Antarctica
Union Glacier camp in Antarctica

This is page "Introduction" |  Page "Eclipse" |  Page "Google Map"

Last page update on May 10, 2019.
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