The Ultimate Guide to the 2019 Total Solar Eclipse

The 2019 total solar eclipse will take place on July 2nd in South American and the South Pacific Ocean. This region will experience a total solar eclipse that will reach its maximum over the ocean before crossing into northern Chile, running through the Elqui Valley in the Coquimbo Region and disappearing over the suburbs of Buenos Aires.

Stargazing Milky Way Arches over La Silla Observatory in ChileThe Milky Way arches over La Silla Observatory. Photo credit: P. Horálek/ESO

Chile’s Elqui Valley is known for its huge observatories and fabulous stargazing-themed hotels, making it an ideal location for viewing the solar eclipse. The dry Mediterranean climate of this region generates astoundingly clear skies, perfect for stargazing even during the region’s winter season.  

WHAT IS A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE?

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon serendipitously passes between Earth and the sun, blocking all of the sunlight and casting a shadow onto the Earth. In the center of the moon’s shadow, day turns to night for over four-and-a-half minutes, with the periphery of the path appearing as a partial eclipse.  A total solar eclipse is a relatively rare occurrence because the Moon doesn’t orbit in the same plane as the Earth and Sun. But, when the three bodies line up just right, the Moon covers up the disc of the Sun, and those in the direct path of the Moon’s shadow will see the Sun go dark.

What is a total solar eclipse?

WHERE ARE THE BEST PLACES TO SEE THE SOLAR ECLIPSE 2019?

The path of totality will be visible from the Pacific Ocean, east of New Zealand, and will cross the ocean north of the Pitcairn Islands, over the Tubai and Tuamotu islands, before making landfall over Chile and Argentina, and concluding south of Buenos Aires. The path of totality is 125 miles (200 kilometers) wide at its maximum, and the maximum duration is 4 minutes and 32 seconds. Some regions in the Pacific and in South America, including locations in Ecuador, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay will see a partial solar eclipse, if the weather permits.

Since Chile is a long, thin country stretching from north to south and the eclipse track goes from west to east, the moon's shadow does not stay in Chile very long. However, the land it does cross- The Norte Chico ("Close North") is extremely attractive to astronomers, stargazers, hikers and wine lovers. After making land at La Serena, the "path of totality" then crosses the Elqui Valley. As well as amazing vineyards and great people, this high altitude area is home to several world-class telescopes: La Silla European Observatory and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory and a little further north in the Atacama Desert, the ALMA radio telescope (to name a few). Further east, Bella Vista in the Andes- and near the Argentina border- also will be an amazing place to take in this beautiful event. 

2019 Solar Eclipse Path of Totality Chile

The "path of totality" is within an hour or two's drive from some memorable destinations including Cordoba, Rosario and the famous capital city of Buenos Aires. As an added bonus, if you travel southwest from Buenos Aires it may be possible to view an eclipsed sun as it sets - something that's sure to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

2019 Solar Eclipse Path of Totality in Argentina

WHEN IS THE SOLAR ECLIPSE 2019?

The eclipse will begin over the Pacific Ocean at 17:03 UTC, which corresponds to 9:03 AM local time in Adamstown, Pitcairn. It will continue along its path until 21:44 UTC (19:44 local time in Buenos Aires), when the shadow of the moon leaves Libres de Sud, Argentina, just 20 miles west of the South Atlantic coast.

WHAT IS THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF AN ECLIPSE?

A total solar eclipse often has an indescribable effect on observers, and even the most experienced astronomers would concede that a total solar eclipse is the most powerful, gorgeous, and even life-altering of all celestial phenomena.

Like the aurora borealis, a solar totality often invokes involuntary gasps and cries of wonder, with individuals commenting that a special “feeling” accompanies the visual spectacle. Both of these natural events are accompanied by large changes in the amount of incoming electromagnetic radiation. Any ‘feelings’ when watching a solar eclipse can be attributed to exposure to electromagnetic radiation, as increased levels can cause small currents of energy to circulate around the body.  

The combined experience of witnessing the beauty of a total eclipse with new physical sensations can result in a spiritual and rewarding experience for many.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO SEE DURING A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE?

During a solar totality, people are likely to observe unusual behaviors and natural phenomena. It has been noted that animals usually fall silent during the event, in comparison to their human counterparts howling and weeping in response to what they’re witnessing.

When viewing the eclipse, spectators can also expect to see flames of nuclear fire visibly erupt like geysers from the sun’s edge and ethereal shimmering dark lines covering the ground.  These visual and atmospheric displays help to make watching a total eclipse an even more memorable occasion.

CAN YOU LOOK AT A SOLAR ECLIPSE DIRECTLY?

The team at HALO take safety very seriously and we know that observing the sun can be very dangerous if you don't take the proper precautions. There are many ways to view the eclipse safely using both indirect and direct methods of watching the event as it happens. Looking at the sun without protecting your eyes can lead to long-term damage that could affect your vision, and we would never recommend looking at the solar eclipse directly.

Please read our section on Eclipse Safety HERE to learn more about preparing for the upcoming eclipse.

Continue HERE to view our selection of HALO's ISO 12312-2:2015 certified premium solar eclipse glasses.