Total Solar Eclipse 2019 July 02
Although this eclipse was a comparatively long one, as often happens, most of the track lay over the water of the Pacific Ocean. Only towards the end did the moon's umbral shadow touch land passing over La Serena in north-central Chile, across the Andes and then into Argentina. Totality on the centre-line on the coast of Chile was a respectable 2m20s with the duration diminishing rapidly eastwards. A bonus was that several large professional observatories, including Cerro Tololo, Gemini South and La Silla were on the track and it was exciting to contemplate sharing the moon's umbral shadow with the "big boys". Our viewing site was along a windy road to the private observatory, Pangue, south of Vicuņa at an elevation of 1500m in the foothills of the Andes, with Cerro Tololo and Gemini South visible on mountains not too far away. Pangue had two roll-off roof observatories which housed telescopes up to 25" in diameter.
July is renowned for being a cloudy month in this part of the world, but the weather was especially favourable providing clear blue skies, all day.
It was a beautiful event shared, though the 2m17s of totality passed much more quickly than desired. Nevertheless, it was a stunning light show and emotional experience enjoyed in the mountains on the southern bounds of the Atacama desert. A spectacle that left me and other eclipsers longing to have had more time to fully savour the event. Chile left me with a desire to see more of this unusual and diverse country. I will see Chile again, in December 2020, when the moon's umbral shadow returns to the southern regions of the country. I enjoyed the scenery and the birds.
Here are some of my images.
|The moment we had been waiting for - the entry diamond ring signalling that totality is just a few seconds away.
|The chromosphere in all its glory!
|Around mid-eclipse; delicate prominences and the inner corona of the sun, but around the lunar edge
|The "solar minimum" corona at mid-eclipse. Long streamers burst to the west (lower left) and to the east
|Third contact! Baily's Beads mark the end of totality
|The exit diamond ring. A stunning phenomenon to see with the eyes.
|Around mid eclipse. The moon's umbral shadow looms menacingly in the west.