Total Solar Eclipse on July 2, 2019
Buenos Aires, Argentina
The total eclipse on July 2, 2019, comes during winter in the Southern Hemisphere, but cloudy skies do not seem to be on the forecast so there will be several opportunities for a good view of the total eclipse. The Great Latin American Eclipse will begin in the South Pacific and return into the ocean, crossing only two countries on land, Chile, and Argentina.
Provinces on the path of totality include Cordoba, La Rioja, Buenos Aires, San Juan, San Luis, and Santa Fe. The cities on the path of totality are San Juan, Villa Dolores, Rio Cuarto, Lujan, Dolores, and Merlo. The rest of Argentina will observe a partial solar eclipse, but even on the south, the Sun will be 50% covered. In Buenos Aires, the capital city, 99% of the Sun will be covered.
East of the Andes mountains, the shadow of the Moon will pass across the regions of Cuyo and Pampas in Argentina, ending near Buenos Aires shortly before sunset. Both Cuyo and Pampas have a rather sunny and dry climate, but they might not be the perfect locations for watching the eclipse because of the clouds. Photos taken from satellites often show overcast clouds across the Pampas.
It will be best for the eclipse chasers in Argentina to watch the eclipse from the eastern slope of the Andes mountains, where the cloud cover is thinner. For those who also want to catch the longest totality, the city of San Juan would work best, where totality will reach about 2 minutes 30 seconds, while Buenos Aires province will have the shortest totality at about 2 minutes 5 seconds.
The partial eclipse in Argentina will begin at about 4 p.m. local time in the south and about 4:40 p.m. in the north of the country. Totality in San Juan will begin at about 5:39 local time and about 5:42 in Buenos Aires. The partial eclipse across the country will end at about 6:20 – 6:40 p.m.
Argentinian Climate on the Eclipse Day
It will be winter in July in Argentina, so eclipse chasers are hoping to catch good weather conditions for observing the total solar eclipse. The Andes mountains act as a shield from the moisture coming from the South Pacific, while the plain landscape of central Argentina does not prevent the Atlantic moisture from going into the land. These weather systems will be following the eclipse track. Good news is, the slopes of the Andes on Argentinian side present favorable climate conditions for watching the eclipse since the humidity from the Atlantic does not reach the area.
The best chances to see the eclipse, based on ground-level and satellite measurements, have those observing from the eastern slopes of the Andes, including Bella Vista and Iglesia. Those small hamlets lie on an open plain, where it is predicted to be the least amount of clouds along the eclipse track. Bella Vista is located 33 km from the town of Rodeo and 80 km from San Jose de Jachal.
The cities of San Juan and San Jose de Jachal are also suitable locations for observing totality. The climate there is dry, but the cloud amount can still be high in the area. Bella Vista is located in a valley, similar in geography and climate to Death Valley in California. It has one of the driest and sunniest climates in Argentina.
When the area is cloudy, it is because of the clouds blown by the wind from nearby peaks. Since they form at cold temperatures, they are often semi-transparent. So, even if it is cloudy on the day of the eclipse, the spectacle would not be completely obscured by the clouds.
As totality moves east crossing sunny Merlo, located near a mountain chain, moisture will be blocked coming from the Atlantic. However, closer to Buenos Aires, the climate gets cloudy so the eclipse watchers who wish to experience about 2 minutes of totality in the region will have to look for a good location and hope for clear skies.