Our Guide to the 2019 Total Solar Eclipse in Argentina
On July 2, 2019, the Moon’s shadow will completely cover the Sun along a narrow track stretching between the coast of Chile to the south of Buenos Aires.
May 9, 2019
The event promises to be fascinating. Millions of viewers traveled to witness the previous total eclipse on August 21, 2017, and many of them were anxious for the next one. A total solar eclipse happens once every 18 months, and the closest is just two months away.
The next total solar eclipse will occur on July 2, 2019, across the South Pacific, Chile, and Argentina. Its path starts in the South Pacific and ends over land, south of Buenos Aires province, and is expected to be viewed by 20 million people, not including local and international travelers.
Compared to the solar eclipse of 2017, the totality phase of the 2019 eclipse will be 70% longer over the ocean. This difference happens because the Moon does not always remain at the same distance from the Earth, and the Earth does not remain at the same distance from the Sun.
The distance between the Earth and the Sun varies by 3%, while the distance between the Moon and the Earth varies by 12%. Because of that, the length of totality varies; while it was 2 minutes and 40 seconds in 2017, it is predicted to be longer in 2019.
Maximum length of totality phase, 4 minutes and 33 seconds, will occur over the ocean, 665 miles north of Easter Island. Some people may even travel there to experience the totality, but most of the spectators will witness it from terra firma in Argentina.
Viewing Solar Eclipse in Argentina
After the path of totality leaves Chile, it moves to Argentina, where the last leg of the eclipse happens. Because the path of totality by then reaches its endpoint, the maximum totality durations also continue to decrease moving southeast.
The first place where eclipse chasers might go to for watching the eclipse is Bella Vista. This place lies 20 miles away from the town of Rodeo and 50 miles away from San Jose de Jachal. There, the totality will last 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The sun at those locations is 11° high at mid-eclipse and watching the eclipse from there gives good visibility. Another option for the spectators is San Juan, about 100 miles away from Bella Vista.
Moving deeper into the land, Rio Cuarto offers 1 minute and 55 seconds of totality. And, by driving north, the viewers can get 20 more seconds of totality, but the Sun will be only at 6.3° above the horizon at mid-eclipse.
Because the eclipse ends in Buenos Aires, the totality there is short – about 50 seconds on the southwestern outskirts. But, another issue is that the Sun stands at 1° above the horizon, which might make it problematic for the spectators to view the eclipse.
When it comes to weather during totality, scientists predict that eclipse chasers will have the best views along the eastern slopes of Andes. The data obtained with ground-level and satellite measurements points to Bella Vista and Iglesia as great locations thanks to the lowest cloud amount on average along the path.
This region in July experiences winter with little humidity. But even in dry climate, the terrain still impacts clouds. The minimum cloud cover will be observed in Bella Vista, about 28%, then it will raise in San Jose de Jachal and climb up to 43% by Rio Cuarto.
Bella Vista, Rodeo, and Iglesia all lie in a tectonic valley, deep and narrow. Its geography and climate can be compared to the Death Valley in California, US, making it one of the sunniest and driest places in Argentina. Those planning to observe the eclipse from one of those locations need to make sure that the Sun will not be covered by mountains.
Helpful Tips for Viewing the Eclipse
Perhaps the most important thing you should remember about the total solar eclipse concerns safety. It is safe to look at the Sun directly only during the phase of totality. For people watching the partial eclipse outside of totality path or during the time before and after totality, it is important to wear special solar filters. Even when you are observing a 99% eclipse, the remaining 1% of the light is still too bright and might cause retinal burn.
For those who want to photograph the solar eclipse, it is important to place special solar filters on the equipment and only remove them during totality phase to avoid injury. By changing the exposure several times once the Moon’s shadow hides the Sun, you can achieve a variety of images. A way to practice exposures before the solar eclipse is by photographing Full Moon, since it is the same brightness as the Sun’s corona.