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MAY 8, 2019

The Chilean Government kicks off Eclipse Season with an astronomy evening at La Moneda Palace

The President of Chile, along with the Science Minister and Undersecretary, has officially launched Chile’s 2019-2020 Eclipse Season. During the event, the website www.eclipseschile.cl was launched. This is a specially created site to inform the public about eclipses and related activities. The website includes safety recommendations, educational material and astrotourism information.

During the first ever astronomy evening to be held at La Moneda Palace, President Sebastián Piñera, along with the Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation Minister, Andrés Couve, and the Science Undersecretary, Carolina Torrealba, officially launched the Eclipse Season.

These astronomical events will start on July 2 with a total eclipse of the sun extending from the town of Domeyko, in the Atacama Region, to the seaside town of Guanaqueros in the Coquimbo Region.

Later, on December 14, 2020, another total solar eclipse will occur in the La Araucanía Region and part of Los Ríos Region. Both astronomical phenomena will be partially visible throughout the country.

The Government has been working in several areas to ensure that people across Chile can enjoy the eclipses in the best way possible, with campaigns focused on safety, health, education and tourism.

“This Eclipse Season will allow us, first of all, to marvel at the skies and nature, and to get closer to science and knowledge. It is not surprising that these two eclipses have aroused so much interest in the community and especially in children. We will be able to talk about our natural laboratories and better understand their value, make known the level of development that Chile has reached in astronomy and science. And it will also help us to position Chile as a privileged country for stargazing, and emphasize the commitment of both our society and government, as seen with the creation of the Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation Ministry,” said the President during the ceremony after visiting an astronomy exhibit supervised by the Mirador Interactive Museum (MIM), the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), and the Millennium Institute of Astrophysics.

During the ceremony to launch Eclipse Season, Minister Couve underlined that “the creation of the new Science Ministry came at a key moment in time when Chile is capable of leading planetary challenges such as the exploration of the universe, research into climate change and the ageing population, and contributing to becoming not only the users but also the builders of the fourth technological revolution. Addressing these challenges involves an urgent and unavoidable responsibility towards future generations.” The Minister also issued an invitation to the children of Chile: “You are the researchers of the future and the eclipse season will be a scientific feast for all, but especially for you.”

The event was also attended by Professor José Maza, recipient of the National Award for Exact Sciences, astronomer of Universidad de Chile and researcher at the Center for Astrophysics and Related Technologies (CATA), who stated: “A total eclipse of the sun is a very beautiful phenomenon that is worth seeing at least once in your lifetime. Most people in the world have never seen a total solar eclipse so Chile is very fortunate to have two solar eclipses over the next 18 months. We should prepare to enjoy both eclipses, starting with the one in July 2019, which will be seen from Arica to Tierra del Fuego as a partial eclipse, and we should get ready to enjoy this eclipse. After 2020 there will be no other eclipse in Chile until 2040. The next one, in Santiago, will occur in 2064, in 45 years’ time.” During the event, the website www.eclipseschile.cl was launched, a specially created site to inform the public about these events.

The Government has promoted scientific development on the basis of the quality of our skies, generating the conditions and incentives for the principal observatories and astronomers in the world to do science on Chilean soil.

Chile has 40% of the collecting surface of optical and infrared telescopes in the world as well as the most powerful sub-millimeter telescope in the world. By 2025, 70% of the world’s observation capacity will be located in Chile.