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Eclipse tourists primed for first of two solar eclipses of the year

February 26, 2017 - ARGENTINA, AFRICA

The first of two solar eclipses in 2017 is annular, and the best viewing bet for eclipse tourists is Patagonia in southern Argentina. The other country in the path of totality, Angola, is a riskier bet because it will be in the middle of its rainy season.

Another safe bet is an eclipse cruise in the Indian Ocean, as captains can choose destinations along the path between Argentina and Angola that skirt heavy cloud.

Chile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia and Namibia are all in its path, but they will only see a partial eclipse. Rain is likely to wash out the view in the three African countries.

Annular eclipses lack some of the drama of the total kind, which occur when the Sun, Moon and Earth are aligned in an almost exactly straight line and turn day into night. In an annular eclipse, the Moon is more distant from Earth, making it appear too small to cover the whole Sun. The treat is the fiery ring that appears around the edge of the Moon.

The second eclipse of 2017, in August, will track a path across the continental United States.

Annular solar eclipse February 2017 (NASA)

Date written/update: 2016-09-15