On July 02, 2019 a total solar eclipse will be visible in a narrow corridor that crosses the southern Pacific Ocean and South America. This is the first total solar eclipse since the Great American Eclipse of 2017. Known as the Moon’s Umbra, the dark shadow of the Moon will begin its journey eastward from a location roughly 1900 kilometers east of New Zealand’s North Island at 18:02 UTC.
The Moon’s umbral shadow will then continue on its journey eastward until eventually reaching its first landfall at Oeno Island (part of the
Pitcairn Islands ) at 18:24 UT (see map). This will be the only landfall of the total phase throughout the entirety of the Pacific Ocean.
Greatest eclipse (the point at which the eclipse will last the longest) occurs
1080 kilometers north of Easter Island at 19:24:08 and lasting 4 minutes and 33 seconds. The only way to observe totality at this location will be by ship or plane. These will likely be well pre-planned excursions or tours.
Totality in South America
After travelling at huge speeds for over two hours, the Moon’s shadow will reach the western coastline of Chile 50 kilometers north of La Serena, the country’s second oldest city. At this location, the maximum duration of totality will have been reduced to 2 minutes and 36 seconds. La Sarena being off-centre from the central line will still enjoy a total eclipse lasting 2 minutes and 17 seconds. The Moon’s shadow will be 145 kilometers in width. From this point onward is where larger numbers of people will get the chance to witness this once-in-a-lifetime event.
This eclipse will boast a unique photographic opportunity for observers in South America as the Sun will be positioned 14 degrees (or lower) at the point of totality across the whole continent. This will allow photographers to take images of the eclipsed Moon with landscape or maybe famous landmarks in the foreground.
The eclipse path progresses south eastward crossing the Andes where the skies are renowned for being dry and clear for much of the year. Many large international observatories are located in the area for this very reason.
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) at La Silla Observatory are lucky enough to be located in the path of totality. As a result, ESO is organising a campaign of observing and outreach activities on site for the general public.
As the shadow races across Argentina at an average speed of speed of 26,000 kilometers per hour, more populated areas will have the chance to enjoy totality including San Juan and Rio Cuarto. The capital Beunos Aires will just miss out being located just 30 kilometers north of the northern edge of the totality path. This does mean however that thousands of inhabitants will be just a quick drive away from totality. A few roads out of Buenos Aires such as Route 3 and Route 205 cross the central line of totality. Also route 41 runs almost parallel to the central line in a south easterly direction for a few miles. A word of warning though that all of these roads are likely to be very congested on the day!
A partial eclipse of the Sun will also e visible from a much wider area including large swathe of the Pacific Ocean and most of South America as illustrated below.
All maps on this page are provided courtesy of Xavier M. Jubier and data from NASA and Google Maps.