Clock Is Ticking Until the Next Total Solar Eclipse
For those who watched the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, the wait is almost over – the next total eclipse will happen in less than a month from now, on July 2, 2019, and it is being hailed as the Great Latin American Eclipse.
A total solar eclipse is a rare celestial event that happens once in about 18 months at any location on Earth. This time, the path of totality will cross the South Pacific, Chile, and Argentina. It will start from the west, near Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific, will touch only two countries in South America, and will end over land just south of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina and its largest city.
The Path of Totality 2019
Over land, the totality will be observed first in South America, near the city of La Serena on the coast of Chile, at 4:39 p.m. local time, on July 2. After crossing the Andes, the Moon’s shadow will graze San Juan, the city in Argentina. As the shadow moves further east across the land, it will slide south of Buenos Aires and Cordoba and return to the Atlantic Ocean shortly before sunset, at 5:40 p.m. local time.
To the south of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, the totality will be shorter than in other provinces, lasting about 2 minutes 5 seconds. Although the total eclipse will be visible from there, it will be nearing sunset so that the sun will be close to the horizon.
A few hours before sunset, the Moon will block the Sun and will turn the day to an eerie twilight. During totality, it is safe to look at the Sun without any eye protection. However, NASA said that the only way to safely observe partially eclipsed or uneclipsed Sun is through special solar filters, which come in eclipse glasses or handheld viewers.
Where to Watch the Eclipse
The first total solar eclipse happening on Earth since the Great American Eclipse of 2017 has received a name the Great Latin American Eclipse. For those watching the eclipse in Argentina, provinces of San Juan, Cordoba, Santa Fe, San Luis, La Rioja, and Buenos Aires are located on the path of totality this year.
Eclipse watchers can observe the event from just north of Mendoza province in the city of San Jose de Jachal, which is along the path of totality. The city is famous for its colonial history, and the visitors can explore vineyards around Mendoza and rock formations in the Valley of the Moon national park.
For those unable to travel to the countryside to watching totality, a quick trip to the capital city of Argentina, Buenos Aires, will bring you closer to the totality. A little to the south, Laguna de Monte, will be perfect for watching the eclipse. It will begin shortly before the sunset, which means that the Sun’s position on the horizon will be low, and it will appear larger than life. However, because of this, eclipse watchers need to look for a good viewing spot with high elevation or clear horizon.