I should be on my way to the eclipse centerline in Las Grutas (The Grottos) along the Argentinian coast right now. Sadly, that never came to pass — the airlines canceled the flight more than a month ago due to concerns about COVID-19. Inspired by the 2017 total eclipse, friends in the U.S. and in Argentina planned to get together in Buenos Aires and make the 12-hour drive to the centerline, a narrow stripe of Earth where you could watch the moon cover the sun in total eclipse.

The sun will be fully eclipsed within a narrow band only about 56 miles (90 km) wide that crosses parts of Chile and Argentina. Outside the band, observers will witness a partial eclipse across much of South America and part of Antarctica. This eclipse will not be visible from the United States. (NASA)
The sun will be fully eclipsed within a narrow band only about 56 miles (90 km) wide that crosses parts of Chile and Argentina. Outside the band, observers will witness a partial eclipse across much of South America and part of Antarctica. This eclipse will not be visible from the United States. (NASA)

The gracious Argentinian family I planned to stay with also canceled their plans because of the pandemic. What to do. Thankfully, going eclipse-less because you can't be there in person is a thing of the past in the era of the Internet. While "being there" to experience the most remarkable celestial alignment visible from Earth has no equal, we will make do. Anyone who wants to see this eclipse can park themselves in front of a computer and watch it via livestream.

During a total solar eclipse the moon passes directly between the sun and the Earth and casts a narrow shadow cone called the umbra across the planet's surface. As the moon moves in its orbit, the shadow traces out a path across the ground called the eclipse track. Anyone in that path will see a total solar eclipse. A partial solar eclipse is visible for observers within the moon's outer shadow called the penumbra. (ESO / M. Kornmesser)
During a total solar eclipse the moon passes directly between the sun and the Earth and casts a narrow shadow cone called the umbra across the planet's surface. As the moon moves in its orbit, the shadow traces out a path across the ground called the eclipse track. Anyone in that path will see a total solar eclipse. A partial solar eclipse is visible for observers within the moon's outer shadow called the penumbra. (ESO / M. Kornmesser)

I've "attended" several this way and each time was surprised at how real it felt and how grateful I was for the opportunity. At most sites there are knowledgeable people narrating the event, and you can hear the hoots and hollers of the gathered crowd as totality approaches. The excitement can be catching.

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Besides the corona observers will also see bright, pink "flames" of hot hydrogen gas along the solar circumference called prominences. They're best in binoculars or a small telescope. I photographed this giant prominence during the July 11, 1991 eclipse in Baja California. (Bob King)
Besides the corona observers will also see bright, pink "flames" of hot hydrogen gas along the solar circumference called prominences. They're best in binoculars or a small telescope. I photographed this giant prominence during the July 11, 1991 eclipse in Baja California. (Bob King)

Below is a list of sites where you can tune in to see the total eclipse which takes place on Monday, Dec. 14. Depending on location, totality will occur between ~10:00 to 10:15 a.m. CST. If a site is slow because of high traffic, try another. All times are Central Standard except where noted. Add one hour to the times listed for Eastern, subtract one hour for Mountain and two hours for Pacific:

TimeAndDate Livestreaming starts at 8:30 a.m.

Carnegie Science You must register first — it's free. Webcast starts at 9:30 a.m.

Nasa Live Two programs, the first at 8:40 a.m.; second in Spanish starts at 9:30 a.m. You can also visit NASA's YouTube channel.

TSE 2020 Stream starts at 7:33 a.m.

Channel 10 TV Live from Argentina Spanish language stream starts at 8:30 a.m.

Totality will last just 2 minutes 10 seconds before the moon parts from the sun not to return until June 10, 2021. That eclipse will be annular with a ring of sunlight left around the moon at maximum. In case you're interested it's visible from Canada (north of Lake Superior), Greenland and Russia. The next total solar eclipse occurs on Dec. 4, 2021 over South Africa and Antarctica. Americans won't be able to drive to see a total eclipse like we did in 2017 until April 8, 2024.

I'm already itching to go.

"Astro" Bob King is a freelance writer for the Duluth News Tribune. Read more of his work at duluthnewstribune.com/astrobob.