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I live in South America and I'm willing to travel to Chile in July 2019 to observe (in a curious way, not professional) the Solar Total Eclipse.
According to my research, one of the best cities to observe the eclipse is in the coastal city of La Serena at 3:20 PM Local Time. However, I don't know if it can be seen from "anywhere". I was thinking of observing it from the beach. Does that make sense?
I also know that I need some kind of special sunglasses for safety. I found some on Ebay but I don't know if they are authentic. I would appreciate if someone could point me to a website that sells authentic eclipse glasses for a reasonable price and international shipping.
In short, my question is, will I be able to amazingly see the eclipse by just traveling to La Serena and go to the beach on the specific day and time? Is there a better place to see it? Is it better to see it from a high ground? Any tips are welcome.
You can get some equipment especially designed for the eclipse.
But don't forget about a simple pinhole camera
Important to note that you shouldn't look through the pinhole. Instead, you are using the pinhole to project an image of the sun on the ground behind you.
The gaps between leaves in a tree act as natural pinholes so if there are any trees around you, you should be able to see lots of eclipse images
One of the easiest ways to safely watch a solar eclipse is to use 2 sheets of cardboard and make your own simple pinhole projector.
A partial solar eclipse projected on cardboard. Solar eclipses can look spectacular, but the Sun's UV radiation can cause permanent eye damage or even blindness. Make your own pinhole projector to view a solar eclipse.
Projecting the Sun through a box projector, or projecting using binoculars or telescope (edit: shown below), or simply 2 pieces of card is a safe and easy way to view a solar eclipse.
Light filtering through the leaves of trees during a solar eclipse creates images of the crescent sun, like the image created by a pinhole camera. (Bigstock)
The Eclipse will be visible from the La Serena Beach (weather permitting). The eclipse will start at 1522, but totality won't be reached until 1638. Totality will last for about 2 minutes. However, there is a higher risk of clouds and/or fog on the coast. Places in the interior, like Vicuna, have better weather prospects, but the eclipse is low so the positioning is more critical if you don't want the sun to be hidden behind mountains. The Argentina side is also an option, and has relatively dry regions near Bella Vista / San Juan.
Total Solar Eclipses attract lots of visitors, so finding accommodation or transport can be difficult.
As noted in comments viewing the partial eclipse without eye protection can cause permanent damage to the retina, you should ensure that you have proper eye protection. You should organise this before you leave. You can have a look at NASA's website, concerning Safety when viewing eclipses. Also, they published a list of Reputable Vendors of eclipse glasses.
The wrong way
Possibly the right way (adult supervision required)
When is 2019 Eclipse Visible, Times, and How to Watch on Sunday
On Sunday evening, January 20, we’ll see the finest total eclipse of 2019, visible from all of North America. How long will the eclipse last? When is the eclipse visible? Here are the times for watching the eclipse on Sunday—and how it will all unfold. This event is definitely worth observing. Kids particularly love lunar eclipses, and remember them vividly their whole lives.
When Earth passes directly between the Sun and the Moon, a lunar eclipse takes place.
Viewing the Eclipse: Timeline
Let’s talk about how the total lunar eclipse will unfold. (Note: Detailed times for ALL time zones in the U.S. and Canada are at the bottom of this article.)
- The “total” eclipse lasts a little more than an hour. Start to finish, the entire eclipse lasts over three hours.
- If it’s clear weather, you want to start observing at 10:33 PMEastern (7:33 P.M. Pacific) when the partial “umbral” eclipse begins. This is when the full Moon first touches our planet’s umbra which is the dark cone-shaped shadow. (See diagram below.)
- During the next hour, the Moon goes through a weird series of shapes that are sometimes called “phases”—but these do not resemble the normal monthly lunar phases, particularly after around 11:15.
- By 11:30 PM Eastern (8:30 PM Pacific), only one little bright spot of sunlight hits the Moon. The rest has turned orange, making the whole thing weirdly resemble Mars with its polar cap.
- Totality begins at 11:41 Eastern (8:41 Pacific). And now the blackness that first bit into the Moon is replaced by an eerie coppery glow. That’s because all of Earth’s sunrises and sunsets now throw their ruddy light into our shadow and onto the Moon.
- Just after midnight, at 12:12 A.M. Eastern (9:12 P.M. Pacific) is the “maximum” eclipse. This is the middle of the total eclipse.
- At 12:43 A.M. Eastern (9:43 P.M. Pacific), the total eclipse ends. Earth’s umbra starts moving away from the Moon’s surface
- By 1:51 A.M. Eastern (10:51 P.M. Pacific), the partial eclipse ends. Earth’s umbra completely leaves the Moon’s surface.
Note: Outside of this time-range, there is a “penumbral lunar eclipse” but it is so faint that many people won’t even notice it while it is happening. In our post, we only give the times of the moon passing through the Earth’s umbra – dark, cone-shaped shadow. See the diagram below.
What to Call It: Super Wolf Blood Moon?
Since we have room, let’s decide what to call it. Some of the media have labeled this a “Super Wolf Blood Moon.” The real story?
- An astrologer in an astrology magazine first referred to an unusually close Moon as a “super moon” in 1979. Nowadays many in the media use the phrase. Science doesn’t, mainly because the term isn’t clearly defined. After all, Sunday’s Full Moon will NOT be the year’s closest or even second closest Moon. And nobody will notice any size difference between this weekend’s Moon and the typical Full Moon. As for tides, every Full Moon creates a “spring tide” that’s a few feet greater than the wimpy neap tides accompanying Quarter Moons. Adding this weekend’s closer-than-average factor will raise tides an extra inch or two. Hardly super.
- What about Blood Moon? Well, a fully eclipsed Moon turns coppery like a penny. Blood that color would be reason to see a hematologist. But okay, they’re both “ruddy,” so we’ll let this one go.
- And that Wolf Moon business? Well, some would like each of the year’s 12 or 13 Full Moons to have its own name. Unfortunately, only the Harvest and Hunter’s full Moons of September and October have official Moon names.
The various Native American tribes did indeed name all the Moons. The Algonquin called the January full Moon the Wolf Moon. But the Nez Perce called it the Cold Weather Moon. To the Lakota Sioux, this is the Moon of Frost in the Teepee. For the American Colonists, it’s the Yule Moon or Winter Moon coming up on Sunday. For the Taos, it’s the Man Moon. The San Juan called it the Ice Moon. To the Cheyenne this is the Hoop and Stick Game Moon. The list goes on and on.
Credit: JSC . Composite photograph created from 13 images of the lunar eclipse through its phases.
We astronomers call a close moon a “Perigean Moon.” We call the event a total lunar eclipse. We call the color “coppery.”
But the actual color varies. Some eclipse totalities turn gray. Some are brick with a yellow fringe. Some have a blue fringe.
Observe it for yourself. The color is the big unknown, and offers some much-needed suspense.
Lunar Eclipse Times for January 20–21
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 11:34 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse begins: 12:41 a.m. (January 21, 2019)
Greatest eclipse: 1:12 a.m. (January 21, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse ends: 1:43 a.m. (January 21, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 2:51 a.m. (January 21, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 10:34 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse begins: 11:41 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Greatest eclipse: 12:12 a.m. (January 21, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse ends: 12:43 a.m. (January 21, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 1:51 a.m. (January 21, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 9:34 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse begins: 10:41 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Greatest eclipse: 11:12 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse ends: 11:43 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 12:51 a.m. (January 21, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 8:34 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse begins: 9:41 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Greatest eclipse: 10:12 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse ends: 10:43 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 11:51 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 7:34 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse begins: 8:41 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Greatest eclipse: 9:12 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse ends: 9:43 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 10:51 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 6:34 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse begins: 7:41 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Greatest eclipse: 8:12 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse ends: 8:43 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 9:51 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Moon partially eclipsed at moonrise: 6:07 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse begins: 6:41 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Greatest eclipse: 7:12 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Total lunar eclipse ends: 7:43 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Partial umbral eclipse ends: 8:51 p.m. (January 20, 2019)
Proof We Live on a Sphere
Just for fun, here’s the definitive answer to “Flat Earth” people. As the ancient Greeks knew, the Moon goes into eclipse every time it touches the place in the sky that’s precisely opposite the Sun, where our planet’s shadow must lie. And every time, the shadow is round. The fact is, only a globe always casts a round shadow.
One who’s not thinking clearly might say, “But why can’t Earth be shaped like a disk, like a DVD ? Then we’d be flat but still cast a round shadow.” But this is faulty reasoning. A DVD would cast a round shadow only when the Sun was perpendicular to it. If the sun were sideways to it, as would sometimes be true for a disk orbiting the sun, we’d then cast a straight line shadow. So here’s proof we live on a sphere—the only shape that always casts a round shadow.
Jun 29th: The July 2, 2019, Total Solar Eclipse
Description: On July 2, the path of totality of a total solar eclipse will cross the Pacific Ocean, including Oeno Island, and then cross Chile and Argentina. Scientists and tourists will observe the path of totality, especially from the region of Chile that includes La Serena and the Elqui Valley, with the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory among astronomical facilities in totality. The observations at this minimum phase of the sunspot cycle will provide important information about the solar corona, and will fill in the ordinary gaps between on-disk extreme-ultraviolet imaging and satellite imaging of the outer corona.
Bio: Jay Pasachoff is Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College and Chair of the International Astronomical Union’s Working Group on Eclipses. He is on sabbatical at Carnegie Observatories.
The fifth edition of his textbook The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium (Pasachoff and Alex Filippenko, and a new book on the intersection of art and astronomy, Cosmos: The Art and Science of the Universe (Roberta J. M. Olson and Pasachoff), have just been published.
Bio: Jay Pasachoff is Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College and Chair of the International Astronomical Union’s Working Group on Eclipses. He is on sabbatical at Carnegie Observatories. The fifth edition of his textbook The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium (Pasachoff and Alex Filippenko, and a new book on the intersection of art and astronomy, Cosmos: The Art and Science of the Universe (Roberta J. M. Olson and Pasachoff), have just been published. See http://solarcorona.com
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We are looking forward to the next total solar eclipse, July 2 nd , 2019. The path of the eclipse will cross South America—Chile and Argentina—after going across the Pacific and we hope to see what we saw at the ’17 total solar eclipse, the most recent total solar eclipse in which the path of totality crossed the United States.
What happens during an eclipse is that the moon goes in front of the sun and a total eclipse is a little closer than average in its orbit around the earth and entirely covers the everyday sun so that we see the outer parts of the sun, the solar corona. But sometimes the moon is a little smaller than average and a ring of everyday sunlight, an annulus of sunlight, remains visible and that makes the sky too bright. The blue sky remains and we can’t see the corona so we scientists are especially interested in the total solar eclipses when the sky is dark and we can’t see the corona, the outer atmosphere of the sun. It is about a million time darker than a normal day so even if one percent of the everyday sun remains visible that’s still ten-thousand times brighter than it is during a total eclipse so you really have to get into the path of the total eclipse.
The path on July 2 nd , 2019, crosses the Pacific. It passes only one island but is mainly over ocean, and just hits South America, where it is low in the sky. It is only about thirteen degrees above the horizon when it reaches the coast of Chile and then at sunset on the horizon just inside the Atlantic coast of Argentina.
18 months later, in December 2020, which is then summertime in South America, there will be another total solar eclipse a little further south, also crossing Chile and Argentina. At that time, the peak will be over Argentina and the sun will be over 70 degrees high in the sky in Argentina. And my group will be located on the Atlantic coast of Argentina.
In any case, we only occasionally get these total solar eclipses—every 18 months or so on the average—and the sun is different every time. Here, for example, is a series of three different total eclipses that were painted almost 100 years ago by Howard Russell Butler in oils. At that time, the cameras couldn’t show with the photographic plates or film the detail of the corona the way they can today, so Butler took notes during the couple of minutes of totality and then used his skills as a portrait painter to translate it into oil paintings. These paintings in particular hung for decades over the entrance of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, part of the American Museum of Natural History. Butler had first been invited by the US Naval Observatory on the 1918 expedition to Oregon, and then he got interested as one might and painted also 1923, 1925 that you just saw, and also in 1932.
In any case, we have many scientific observations that we can make only at total solar eclipses. The corona changes with the sunspot cycle, the roughly 11-year sunspot cycle. We are now at the minimum of the sunspot cycle most days have no sunspots at all on the surface of the sun and that means there are only a few coronal streamers relatively close to the solar equator and the poles remain visible where there are plumes that come out of the poles looking much like the filings that come out of a bar magnet. All this illustrates how important the magnetic field is for the sun.
The magnetic field in sunspots was discovered by George Ellery Hale at the Mount Wilson Observatory in 1908 and the sunspot regions are regions of especially strong magnetic field. But the coronal magnetic fields, which are weaker, are still strong enough to govern the very hot gas around the sun.
It was discovered at an eclipse in 1869 that there were some special spectral emissions from the corona, in particular a strange one in the green, “the coronal green line.” In 1868, they found a yellow line which was soon called helium because it was only from the sun. The next year, in 1869, the coronal green light was seen and they thought it was from “coronium,” a new element as helium turned out to be. As you know, helium did turn out to be a fundamental element but they didn’t discover that until 1895, when they isolated it on Earth. And coronium took until 1940 to explain, and then it was finally realized that it wasn’t a new element but it was really only a form of iron that only existed when it was so hot—over a million degrees—that half of iron’s normal 26 electrons had been driven off so this is iron that’s 13 times ionized (since the neutral state is Roman numeral I), which is called iron 14. And we now have several spectral lines of different ionization stages and elements.
We will be observing those from our sites in Chile. I will be at a mine at a mountainside at an altitude of about 2200 feet on the centerline as it passes Chile. And unusually, there is actually a couple of major astronomical observatories in the zone of totality. I have permission to have 4 of my colleagues at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory for the eclipse, and they will have a variety of cameras and telescopes to make images of the sun both in ordinary light—what we call white light, all the sunlight together— and also through some special filters and with some spectrographs. So when we only get a couple of minutes every year and a half or so to see what the corona is like in detail, we want to take advantage of that. And then we can put together these observations at eclipses from what we can get from NASA and European Space Agency spacecraft, which can’t observe the region of the sun that we see best at total solar eclipses. So only on the days of total solar eclipses do we get a complete view of the sun including all of its layers.
And we should also remember that the sun is a typical star and that there are billions and trillions of stars like the sun, so when we are observing the details of the solar corona at an eclipse, we’re learning what the details are of the coronas of all these distant stars that are all fuzzed out without our ability to see detail.
A total solar eclipse remains a scientifically valuable occasion and also a fantastic occasion for individuals to see.
Path of totality: What to know about Tuesday's total solar eclipse
On Tuesday, skywatchers in parts of the Earth got a rare treat: a total solar eclipse.
It was the first total solar eclipse since the Great American Eclipse of 2017, AccuWeather reports.
AccuWeather talks to an eclipse enthusiast about what makes Tuesday's event special.
Where could the July 2, 2019, total solar eclipse be seen?
Unfortunately for eclipse enthusiasts in the U.S., we weren't in the path of this one. The path of totality was mostly across open waters, but tourists packed into the tiny sliver across Chile and Argentina where the total eclipse was visible.
What time was the July 2, 2019, total solar eclipse?
The partial eclipse first reached Chile at 3:22 p.m. ET, and the total eclipse began at 4:38 p.m. ET. The total eclipse lasted a matter of minutes in each location.
What made the July 2, 2019, total solar eclipse special?
Gordon Telepun, an eclipse enthusiast who witnessed a total solar eclipse for the fifth time on Tuesday, said this one is special because he could see it at sunset.
"You know how the moon always looks bigger on the horizon? So an eclipse on the horizon is really going to look dramatic," he said.
2024 TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE TOURS
Mexico & Guatemala
On April 8, 2024, plants, animals and humans across North America will encounter a celestial experience like no other: ‘A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE’. People on the Earth will experience two total solar eclipses from 2021 to 2023, but the April 2024 event will be the first to pass through the United States since the 2017 Great American Eclipse.
The 2024 eclipse first makes land on the Pacific coast of Sinaloa, Mexico, with the beautiful coastal town of Mazatlan just north of the center-line. While April is typically a rainy month in North America, so weather will be a major issue for those wanting to observe the eclipse.The best options appear to be in Mexico or Texas based on general climate statistics and decades of space imaging of clouds. We selected to travel to Mexico where the totality duration is longer and the weather prospects are much better even than in Texas.
MEXICO’S landscape has been blessed with every imaginable kind of natural feature, from dry and hot deserts to tropical white-sand beaches, from high plains to exotic jungles in the mountains. Explore narrow cobbled streets and discover architectural treasures hidden behind high brick and stone walls in Mexico’s colonial Highland. In addition to many natural wonders—volcanoes, canyons, lakes, deserts, jungles, mountains, and pristine landscapes—archeology buffs will find numerous Maya and Aztec ruins to stay busy for a lifetime. A visit to Teotihuacán near Mexico City, Cobá and Chichén Itzá in Yucatán, or Palenque, close to the Guatemalan border, are sure to make your travels in Mexico unforgettable.
GUATEMALA is home to volcanoes, rainforests, and ancient Mayan sites. The capital, Guatemala City, features the stately National Palace of Culture and the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Antigua, west of the capital, contains preserved Spanish colonial buildings. Lake Atitlán, formed in a massive volcanic crater, is surrounded by coffee fields and villages. The dizzying pyramids of Tikal are Guatemala’s most famous places to visit. The Spanish left behind plenty of footprints from their colonial conquest of Guatemala.
The Basics of Solar Imaging
Visual observation of the Sun, whether in white-light or in narrow band like H-alpha, rewards the observer with ever changing and close-up views of a major star in action. Features like sunspots, solar flares and prominences, faculae and tiny spicules are fascinating to watch. And special events such as planetary transits or total and partial solar eclipses add to the pleasure of amateur solar astronomy. Eventually, however, there comes a time when you wish to record your observations by capturing images of the Sun. In this article, you get a few tips and suggestions to get you started imaging the Sun with white-light solar filters and narrow-band solar filters such as H-alpha and Ca-K.
9.2 Imaging the Sun with a Smartphone or Point-and-Shoot Camera
Aiming an unfiltered camera at the Sun for any length of time may cause damage to the sensor, so it's essential to have a solar filter in front of the camera to completely cover the lens and keep the light to a safe level for the camera sensor and your eye. Filters such as solar eclipse cards or eclipse glasses reduce the intensity of the Sun's light by a factor of 100,000 or more, but they still give a sufficiently bright image for the camera's sensor. You can manually hold these simple filters in front of a smartphone or point-and-shoot while imaging. However, using only a solar filter and camera results in a very small image of the Sun's disk, even with zoom lenses of 200mm to 300mm focal length (35mm equivalent). So you're not likely to see any solar features such as sunspots using most smartphones and small camera.
Figure 2-1: An uncropped image of the Sun with a DSLR camera with APS-C sensor and a 400mm lens (which is a 640mm equivalent to a full-frame DSLR camera). Solar film was used over the aperture of the lens. Credit: Sergio Castillo/Agena AstroProducts.
Afocal imaging, in which you snap an image of the Sun through the eyepiece of a properly filtered telescope, offers a solution and you can get a reasonably good solar image with this approach with a smartphone, small camera, or even a DSLR.
To do afocal imaging, you adjust the focuser of your telescope to achieve a good visual solar image in your eyepiece, then simply hold your camera up to the eyepiece, adjust the camera focus to get a sharp image in the viewfinder or on the screen, and take the picture. You can hold the camera by hand, but to get the best results, invest in a mechanical holder that secures the smartphone or camera to the focuser of the telescope to keep the camera in place and stationary as the image is taken. Heavier point and shoot cameras or DSLRs with a lens can be placed on a camera tripod and moved close to the telescope eyepiece of the telescope. If possible, use a timer or remote shutter release to take the image with the camera or phone without having to touch it. As with any sort of imaging through a telescope, a solid mount helps with getting a sharp image. Because camera shutter times are fairly fast for solar afocal imaging, a tracking mount is not critical.
WARNING: Do not try afocal imaging with a telescope without using a proper solar filter over the objective lens or mirror of the telescope. It's dangerous to handle an unfiltered telescope when pointing it towards the Sun, and you may damage your eyes inadvertently. You will surely damage the sensor of your smartphone or camera if it's exposed to unfiltered and highly intense and tightly focused light from a telescope.
Figure 2-2: Uncropped afocal images of the Sun taken with a smartphone held with a holder/bracket at an eyepiece with focal length of 18.2mm and a telescope with 80mm objective lens and focal length of 480mm. A polymer solar filter was used over the objective lens of the telescope. The image on the left was taken with the smartphone camera set to lowest zoom setting. The image on the right was taken with the smartphone camera set to highest zoom setting. The camera automatically set the exposure. Credit: Sergio Castillo/Agena AstroProducts.
With afocal solar imaging, you can adjust the camera's optical or digital zoom to get close-ups of the image produced by the eyepiece. You can also switch eyepieces in the telescope to change the magnification and true field of view.
As for camera settings, use ISO200 or 400 and set the widest possible aperture (ie. the lowest f-stop number such as f/2.8 or f/4). Try a range of exposure times. Since even the filtered Sun is quite bright, start with something in the range of 1/30s to 1/500s. Shorter exposures capture more detail of sunspots and other features on the face of the Sun in white light. If you are using an H-alpha solar filter or dedicated H-alpha solar telescope, then you can try short exposures to properly image the solar disk and longer exposures to reveal solar prominences, if they are present, along the limb of the Sun.
White-light solar images can be taken in the camera's standard color mode. However, if your camera has a black-and-white setting, give it a try. It may result in better focusing and image contrast of photospheric images like sunspots and faculae.
Figure 2-3: An afocal image with a smartphone camera, handheld, of a partial solar eclipse through a Coronado Personal Solar Telescope.
If you're imaging with a telescope and H-alpha filter or a dedicated H-alpha solar telescope, then the camera sensor will see almost completely monochromatic light at 656.3nm. Because most commercial cameras use a three-color (red-green-blue) Bayer filter in front of the sensor, this results in blurry and reddened images. You will get better afocal solar images in H-alpha if you use black and white mode, although the presence of the Bayer filter, and the additional IR filter that's in front of the sensor in many cameras, will still result in some loss of image quality.
While afocal solar imaging is easy and can be done with many cameras, it does have some disadvantages. Because there are many optical elements in the eyepiece and camera lens, there is some image distortion, light loss, and possibly ghost reflections. The images may also be cut off around the edges, an effect known as vignetting, if the camera aperture is too small to capture the full exit pupil of the eyepiece.
9.3 DSLR Solar Imaging
With their bigger sensors, DSLR cameras can be also used for solar imaging to get much better images than smartphones or point-and-shoot cameras. They also accommodate a wide range of interchangeable lenses. Like point-and-shoot cameras, DSLR cameras, when mounted on a tripod, can be used for afocal imaging through a telescope and eyepiece. But far better image quality results when you image through a DSLR camera lens or directly through a telescope.
The image of the Sun will be quite small with DSLR camera lenses of less than 200mm (35mm equivalent). But if you have a zoom lens or a telephoto lens with a focal length longer than 400mm (35mm equivalent) or about 300mm (for crop-sensor or APS-C DSLR cameras), you can get a large enough image of the Sun's disk to see some detail. With such long focal lengths, you will need a solid tripod to hold the camera steady. And unless you are imaging the Sun when it is totally eclipsed by the Moon, you MUST place over the DSLR camera lens a safe solar filter such as the Baader AstroSolar white light solar filters. These filters come mounted in a wide range of sizes to accommodate long and short focal length camera lenses.
Connecting the DSLR camera directly to a solidly-mounted telescope gives you even larger image size since the telescope acts as a very long focal-length camera lens. The DSLR camera body is mounted to the telescope such that the sensor lies at the focal plane of the telescope's lens or mirror. This sort of approach is called prime focus imaging. If you are going to do prime focus imaging of the Sun with a telescope, you MUST use a safe solar filter over the objective of the telescope to prevent damaging your camera or your eyes.
To use a DSLR at prime focus, remove the camera lens and insert a T-ring into the camera's lens mount. These small accessories are made for specific camera types such as Nikon or Canon. The T-ring is then attached to a T-adapter which allows you to insert the camera into the focuser of the telescope.
Once the camera is mounted in the telescope's focuser, you simply aim the filtered scope at the Sun (do NOT look through the finder scope to do this), and bring the image to a focus with the telescope focuser while watching the image on the camera screen or on a computer screen if you're using software to control the camera remotely.
To take an image, use ISO200 or ISO400 and start with a shutter speed in the range of 1/30s to 1/500s. The aperture, of course, is set by the optics of the telescope. Use a shutter release to take the image or trigger the shutter with software to prevent touching (and shaking) the camera.
Which telescope is best for solar imaging with a DSLR? It depends on your goal. Even a focal length of 1000mm to 1200mm shows the full solar disk on a DSLR sensor, so you can't get close-up views of sunspots or prominences, for example, without extending the focal length with a Barlow lens. The solar disk still fills a cropped sensor DSLR camera even at a focal length of about 1700mm and a full-frame DSLR camera at a focal length of 2500mm.
Fig. 3-1: An image of the Sun captured using Baader AstroSolar film. Photo credit: Radoslaw Ziomber.
9.4 Dedicated Astronomy Cameras for Solar Imaging
Most experienced solar and planetary imagers use dedicated astronomy cameras to produce the best images. These cameras have commonly used CCD sensors, although newer cameras are now using less expensive CMOS sensors to achieve very good results. Dedicated astronomy cameras are used at the prime focus of a telescope. They have large and sensitive detectors and electronic shutters, and they can be controlled using dedicated astronomy imaging software such as Firecapture. The best results are obtained with purely monochrome astronomy cameras without a Bayer filter in front of the sensor. Color can be added to the image in post processing. Casual imagers can use one-shot color astronomy cameras for imaging the Sun with white-light filters, though these cameras do not work well in imaging with the narrow bandwidth provided by H-alpha filters.
You can grab a single image of the Sun using a dedicated astronomy camera. But the most common approach with these cameras is to shoot short video clips of the Sun, usually in AVI format, at a rate of 15fps, 30fps, or even 60fps. The clips contain hundreds or thousands of individual digital images which can be analyzed and selected for sharpness during fleeting moments of good seeing during capture. The sharpest images are processed and stacked into a single image using standard imaging software such as RegiStax or AviStack. Stacking works whether you image in white-light, H-alpha, and Ca-K wavelengths. The technique takes a little practice, but it consistently yields results that exceed what was capable with professional equipment just two decades ago.
When trying to get the sharpest solar images with a dedicated astronomy camera and image stacking techniques, it pays to choose a high-quality solar filter that produces as good an image as your telescope will allow. Most H-alpha and Ca-K filters have excellent optical quality and produce good images. To get the best images in white light, a solar wedge (or Herschel wedge) or a filter made with a premium solar film such as Baader's AstroSolar film or Thousand Oaks' Solarlite film is the best choice.
Since capturing AVI video clips of the Sun takes many seconds, you will need to use a well-aligned tracking equatorial mount for imaging. Many motorized equatorial mounts have special tracking rates for the Moon and Sun that are slightly different than the sidereal rate.
Figure 4-1: A close-up in white light of a sunspot group using a ZWO ASI174 astronomy camera and a telescope with 350mm aperture with an effective focal length of 3556mm. Credit: ZWO.
9.5 A Few Words About Processing
Once you have a digital image of the Sun, you can enhance it with further processing. While astronomical image processing is a big subject with a long learning curve, there are a few straightforward things you can do with applications such as Adobe Photoshop or Gimp.
After adjusting exposure and contrast, if necessary, you can 'stretch' the contrast of the image further by adjusting the levels of the photo. In Photoshop, for example, you can adjust the three sliders for Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights under Adjust>Levels to bring out the subtle but important elements in the image of the Sun's disk without overexposing or dimming the bright and dark areas. Adding a little sharpness can also help bring out fine detail. In Photoshop, use Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask, and use a small radius of three or four pixels.
If you take your image with a monochrome camera in grayscale, you can also add color to the image. This is especially pleasing if you are imaging at H-alpha (in the red-orange part of the spectrum) or Ca-K wavelengths (in the violet). In Photoshop, you begin by converting the grayscale image to RGB color using Image>Mode>RGB Color. You can then adjust the red, green, and blue channels to achieve your desired level of colorization. For example, for H-alpha, you can drag the midpoint of the diagonal line the red channel upward, then drag the diagonal of the green and blue channel downward to produce a golden color to the image. For a grayscale Ca-K image, you can increase the red and blue midpoints and decrease the green midpoint to achieve a violet image.
As mentioned earlier, the exposure settings for capturing detail on the face of the Sun are different than the exposure settings for capturing the prominences at the edge of the Sun. Capturing prominences typically overexposes the detail on the Sun's face, while properly exposing the solar disk underexposes prominences. But if you capture one image of each, you can combine them in Adobe Photoshop so the Sun's disk and the prominences on the limb are both visible.
9.6 Imaging a Solar Eclipse
While the Sun itself often features plenty to observe and image on most clear days, a solar eclipse, when the Moon passes partly or totally across the face of the Sun, presents a wonderful opportunity to capture some dramatic images. A solar eclipse happens somewhere on Earth at least twice and as many as five times each year, but it happens over a restricted range of the Earth's surface. Many observers will travel long distances to see solar eclipses, especially dramatic total solar eclipses. Whether you plan to travel to see an eclipse yourself, or one just happens to pass your way, here are a few tips and ideas to grab a memorable image.
There are three main types of solar eclipse: total, annular, and partial. A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes almost exactly between the Earth and Sun and casts a shadow in a long narrow path across the Earth. An observer within this shadow, which is called the path of totality, will see a total solar eclipse during which the Moon covers the brilliant solar photosphere and reveal the edge of the red chromosphere and white tendrils of the solar corona. A total eclipse just lasts for a few minutes, but it's a memorable event, one you can watch and image---carefully---without the use of a solar filter. Before and after the few minutes of a total eclipse, an observer in the path of totality sees a partial eclipse.
An annular solar eclipse is similar to a total eclipse, but it happens when the Moon is near its furthest point from Earth in its monthly orbit and appears slightly too small to completely cover the Sun's disk. Around the dark Moon appears a thin ring of light from the Sun's photosphere.
A partial solar eclipse occurs when the Earth, Moon, and Sun are not quite lined up and only a segment of the Moon passes across the Sun. A partial solar eclipse is also visible during the time before and after a total or annular solar eclipse, or for an observer outside of the path of totality of a total solar eclipse.
Figure 6-1: The Sun during a total solar eclipse (left), a partial solar eclipse (center), and an annular solar eclipse (right).
Here's an easy but VERY important rule for imaging a solar eclipse: at all times during a partial solar eclipse or annular solar eclipse, you must observe and image the Sun as if there were no eclipse at all. That is, you need to use a safe solar filter in front of your camera lens or telescope objective. Even a sliver of the Sun's brilliant photosphere is bright enough to cause blindness or damage your camera or telescope. The only time you can remove the solar filter---in fact you must remove the solar filter to get any image whatsoever---is during the few minutes of a total solar eclipse when the Sun's bright and blinding disk is covered by the Moon. When the total eclipse ends and the Sun's disk re-emerges from behind the Moon, you must replace the solar filter on your optics to prevent damage to your instruments.
As in the case for imaging the Sun generally, described earlier in this article, to image a total solar eclipse during the brief few minutes of totality, you can use a smartphone camera, a point-and-shoot, a DSLR, or a dedicated astronomy camera. You can shoot through the camera lens, afocally with a smartphone, point-and-shoot, or DSLR, or you can use a DSLR or astronomy camera at the prime focus of a telescope as described earlier.
Figure 6-2: A cropped image of a total solar eclipse taken with a DSLR and a 55mm lens at ISO1600, f/4, and 1/15s shutter speed. Image credit: Romeo Durscher/NASA Goddard.
During the few minutes of a total solar eclipse, the main target of your image should be the corona surrounding the Sun, and, depending on your equipment, the surrounding landscape. During a solar eclipse, the corona is about as bright as a full Moon and the surrounding landscape is about as bright as the moments after sunset when the first stars become visible. So there's plenty of light available for the camera when you remove the solar filter. Before the eclipse, you can practice framing and shooting the full Moon and finding approximately the right settings for your camera with this level of lighting. Setting the camera to an ISO of 200-400, the aperture to f/4 or slower, and the shutter speed to a range from 1/1000s to 1/10 of a second will give reasonably good results. Faster shutter speeds will show the brightest part of the inner corona. Slower speeds will overexpose the inner corona but show the fainter tendrils of the outer corona further from the Sun.
The Sun and Moon appear just 0.5° a degree across. That's about half the width of your pinky finger held at arm's length. So to get a close up of the total eclipse you need a lens with a focal length of at least 200mm (35mm equivalent) or 135mm (for APS-C sensors). Longer is better. Focal lengths of 1000mm to 1200mm still show the full totally eclipsed Sun on a DSLR sensor and give you a close-up view of the corona. You want to keep the focal length less than 2000mm (35mm equivalent) or 1300mm (APS-C) to avoid cutting off the corona. With such long focal lengths, you will need a solid tripod to hold the camera steady.
If you don't have a zoom lens or a telescope for your camera, you can try for a wide-field view of the totally eclipsed Sun, the sky, and the surrounding people and landscape. You can also try, before and after the solar eclipse, to take a simple image of the partial eclipse through a safe solar viewing card (see below). It makes for a memorable snapshot.
Figure 6-3: The image of a partially eclipsed Sun through a solar viewing card held at arm's length. Image credit: Tom Ruen/Wikipedia Commons.
A few more tips for imaging a total solar eclipse:
Taking an image of a solar eclipse during the partial phase involves the same consideration as imaging the Sun in general. You MUST use a solar filter over your camera lens or over the objective lens of your telescope or binoculars. If the Sun is too bright to look at with your eyes without a solar filter, it's too bright to image without a solar filter.
As with visual observation, once the eclipse reaches totality and becomes safe enough to see with your eyes, you can---and must---remove the solar filter from your camera. Otherwise, your camera will not see anything. Once totality ends, if you wish to image the subsequent partial eclipse, you must replace the filter.
Do not use a flash. It will not help with an image of the eclipse and it's distracting to those around you.
Don't trust autofocus to work correctly during totality. Focus on the Sun manually through a solar filter before totality, then turn off autofocus before totality begins.
Practice focusing and taking images during the partial phase of the eclipse before totality begins, or practice weeks in advance on the full Moon.
Make a checklist of all the equipment you need for the eclipse, especially if you are traveling. Also make a checklist of the steps required to take an image of the eclipse, including the tips in this chapter.
Use a tripod to get a steadier image. And use a timed or remote shutter release to avoid camera shake.
And don't forget: when the Sun starts emerging from behind the Moon, put your filters back on your camera lens or telescope, and stop looking at the eclipse directly with your eyes without a safe solar filter.
Finally, here's a counterintuitive tip. If you've never before seen a total solar eclipse, consider skipping imaging altogether and just watch the few minutes of totality with your unaided eye. It will be one of the most spectacular events you will ever see, so you don't want to spend time fiddling with your camera during this fleeting opportunity. Most total solar eclipses are imaged by hundreds of expert photographers, and you can see their work afterward. Just enjoy the show.
The Five Eclipses in 2019
Below are brief descriptions of this eclipses in 2019 of the Sun and Moon. You'll find more details Sky & Telescope magazine as the date of each draws near. Times are in Universal Time (UT) except as noted. Adjust these to get those for your time zone: for example. PST = UT – 8, and EST = UT – 5. (But be sure to allow for daylight or "summer" time: PDT = UT – 7, and EDT = UT – 4.)
January 6: Partial Solar Eclipse
The year starts off with a bang, eclipse-wise, with a partial solar eclipse during the first week of January. But to see the Moon take its biggest bite out of Sun — the location of greatest eclipse — you'll need to venture to the bleak outpost of Srednekolymsk in central Siberia. (Hey, at least it's got an airport.) There you'll brave an average daytime high of –28°F to witness 62% of the Sun's disk tuck behind the Moon. The obscuration and the weather are less dramatic elsewhere in northeastern Asia and the North Pacific Ocean. About 20% of the Sun is covered from Beijing, 30% from Tokyo, and 37% from Vladivostok. More information about this eclipse.
January 20–21: Total Lunar EclipseHere are key events for the total lunar eclipse on January 20–21, 2019.
Leah Tiscione / Sky & Telescope
It's been more than three years since everyone in the U.S. has experienced a total lunar eclipse — the last one was September 27–28, 2015 — and skygazers are hungry for another! As the graphic at right shows, the eclipse will last almost 3½ hours from the beginning of the partial phase at 3:34 UT until it ends at 6:51 UT. Totality lasts 63 minutes, from 4:41 to 5:44 UT.
The timing of this one, with mid-eclipse at 5:12 UT, gives everyone in North America a ringside seat — though it'll be a late night for anyone on the East Coast. As veteran skywatcher Joe Rao notes in Sky & Telescope's January issue, the eclipsed Moon will appear high in a mid-winter sky, and this event occurs on the Sunday night of a 3-day holiday weekend in the U.S. So if it's clear that night, you'll have no (good) excuse for skipping this wonderful celestial event.
The diagram at upper right and the table below show you what to look for and when (UT times are all for January 21st local times are on the 20th if "p.m." and the 21st if "a.m."):
|Highlights of the Total Lunar Eclipse on January 20–21, 2019|
|Penumbra first visible?||3:10||7:10 p.m.||8:10 p.m.||9:10 p.m.||10:10 p.m.||11:10 p.m.|
|Partial eclipse begins||3:34||7:34 p.m.||8:34 p.m.||9:34 p.m.||10:34 p.m.||11:34 p.m.|
|Total eclipse begins||4:41||8:41 p.m.||9:41 p.m.||10:41 p.m.||11:41 p.m.||12:41 a.m.|
|Middle of totality||5:12||9:12 p.m.||10:12 p.m.||11:12 p.m.||12:12 a.m.||1:12 a.m.|
|Total eclipse ends||5:44||9:44 p.m.||10:44 p.m.||11:44 p.m.||12:44 a.m.||1:44 a.m.|
|Partial eclipse ends||6:51||10:51 p.m.||11:51 p.m.||12:51 a.m.||1:51 a.m.||2:51 a.m.|
|Penumbra last visible?||7:15||11:15 p.m.||12:15 a.m.||1:15 a.m.||2:15 a.m.||3:15 a.m.|
Weather permitting, everyone in the U.S. will be able to enjoy this celestial event. As the map below shows, eclipse watchers in the Hawaiian Islands will see the Moon climb out of the Pacific Ocean at sunset on the 20th, with roughly half of it already immersed in shadow. Totality occurs in the hours before bedtime for those on the West Coast, but it happens later for those farther east and after midnight (early on January 21st) for the Eastern Seaboard. Meanwhile, it’s a predawn event on the 21st as seen from westernmost Europe and Africa. More information about this eclipse.
Finally, go here to check out some interesting and scientifically useful observing activities that you can try during various stages of the eclipse.
January's total lunar eclipse is observable from all of North America — which hasn't happened since September 2015.
Leah Tiscione / Sky & Telescope
July 2: Total Solar Eclipse
If you're one of the estimated 154 million U.S. adults who watched the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 — and that's most of us! — you know how incredible these dramatic spectacles can be. Since the Sun escaped another total cover-up in 2018, diehard eclipse-chasers have had to wait nearly two years for their next opportunity to stand in the Moon’s shadow.
A yellow band marks the path of totality for the total solar eclipse on July 2, 2019. Sets of curved lines show the extent of the partial eclipse that day in 20% increments.
Michael Zeiler / greatamericaneclipse.com
On paper, the solar eclipse of July 2, 2019, offers up to 4 m 33 s of totality, nearly double that of August 2017. However, to experience all that daylight darkness you’ll need to be bobbing in a remote stretch of the South Pacific Ocean some 700 miles north of Easter Island. Instead, most eclipse chaser’s are eyeing locations in the path’s only real landfall: central Chile and Argentina.
It will be late afternoon when the Moon's umbra crosses these countries at sub-tropical latitudes near 30° south. The bustling coastal town of La Serena, Chile, offers 2 m 13 s of totality with the Sun about 14° above the northwestern horizon. According to eclipse-weather expert Jay Anderson, this positioning “takes the sting out of what might otherwise be a very cloudy environment.” Some of the very best viewing prospects, statistically speaking, occur a little inland from La Serena along Chile’s picturesque Elqui Valley and on the eastward side of the Andes in western Argentina. More information about this eclipse.
July 16: Partial Lunar Eclipse
Two weeks after July's new Moon (and the solar eclipse it creates), the month's full Moon will dive about two-thirds of the way into Earth's umbral shadow. Unfortunately, with mid-eclipse at 21:31 UT, July 16th's event isn't visible at all from North America. Instead, it's timed best for skywatchers in Europe, Africa, and (before dawn on July 17th) southern Asia and Australia. From South America, you'll see the end of this eclipse after the Moon rises. More information about this eclipse.
December 26: Annular Solar Eclipse
The path of December 2019's annular eclipse clips the Saudi Peninsula, southern India, Sri Lanka, and parts of Indonesia.
Fred Espenak / eclipsewise.com
The year comes to a dramatic conclusion with an annular eclipse that traces across the Eastern Hemisphere for some 8,000 miles (13,000 km) over the course of 3.3 hours. The event begins at dawn north of Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, with 2 m 59 s of annularity. Greatest eclipse (with a central duration lasting 3 m 39 s ) comes in eastern Sumatra. Most of Singapore's 5½ million inhabitants are situated just within the path of annularity. Just before it departs Earth's surface, the antumbral shadow races over Guam for 3 m 10 s .
A partial solar eclipse will be observed across much of southern Asia and Australia. More information about this eclipse.
Looking Ahead to 2020
The recent run of hard-to-reach solar eclipses continues in 2020, with an annular track running across Africa, the southern Saudi Peninsula, and southern Asia on June 21st and a total eclipse again slicing across Chile and Argentina on December 14th. Lunar-eclipse lovers will be both disappointed and stunned, as there'll be four barely-there penumbral eclipses in a 12-month span.
Group 1: S&T's 2019 Total Solar Eclipse & Southern Stargazing Tour
Limited to just 60 participants, guests on Sky & Telescope's tour will view the eclipse in late afternoon amid the lush splendor of Casa Molle Villa & Golf, a 5-star resort nestled in Chile's verdant Elqui Valley.
The next total solar eclipse beckons you to visit wonderful Chile, land of the towering Andes, amazing night skies, and an exclusive chance to view totality from the lush grounds of a 5-star resort.
Few natural events can match seeing a total solar eclipse. The next one isn't that far in the future — on July 2, 2019!
Sky & Telescope / Sean Walker
If you're looking forward to standing in the Moon's shadow on July 2, 2019 — but you've been unable to find high-quality lodging or a favorable location from which to observe, search no more!
After a year of research and two site visits to Chile, the editors of Sky & Telescope have secured exclusive eclipse-viewing access at Casa Molle Villa & Golf in El Molle. This brand-new resort, situated in the lush and picturesque Elqui Valley, provides excellent viewing prospects for the eclipse.
Our travel partner for 2019's solar eclipse is Royal Adventures (CST#2009579-40), a company that specializes in tours to South America, has close, high-level contacts within Chile's astronomical community, and prides itself on providing travel experiences of unmatched quality. NOTE: This tour is limited to 36 participants! (double occupancy)
Highlights of the Main Tour
Sky & Telescope's exclusive site, Casa Molle Villa & Golf, sits within the lush Elqui Valley in the small town of El Molle and offers a view toward the eclipsed Sun that's well clear of distant hills (which project only 4° from the local horizon). Moreover, this resort's 5-star rating ensures that you'll be able to enjoy the eclipse in luxurious surroundings. Weather prospects in El Molle are excellent, and totality there will have a duration of 2 m 21 s (not including lunar-limb correction).
The 13-inch refractor at OAN in Santiago
National Astronomical Observatory, Santiago
Cerro Calán, a modest mountain in eastern Santiago that offers commanding views of the capital city, is home to Chile’s National Astronomical Observatory. Established in 1852 (with help from the U.S. Naval Observatory), the OAN became part of the University of Chile in 1927. We’ll get a tour of its two historic refractors (with 13- and 12-inch apertures) and a modern 18-inch Cassegrain that handles most of the facility’s many informal stargazing sessions.
Many domes dot the summit of ESO's La Silla Observatory
European Southern Observatory, La Silla (tentative)
The La Silla Observatory is located at the outskirts of the Chilean Atacama Desert, 600 km north of Santiago and at an altitude of 2,400 meters (7,900 feet). Located far from sources of light pollution, La Silla offers some of the darkest night skies on Earth. This facility has been a stronghold of the European Southern Observatory since the 1960s and now has a staff of about 250. Here ESO operates two of the most productive 4-meter-class telescopes in the world.
Collawara Observatory in Chile
Located 59 km southeast of La Serena near the mining town of Andacollo, Collawara is a regional "tourist observatory" established in 2004. Here you'll get your first taste of the breathtaking southern sky, including great views of the Omega Centauri cluster and the Carina Nebula through the 14-inch Meade housed in a permanent dome. We also used a 16-inch Dobsonian outside under the stars.
Highlights of the Atacama Extension
San Pedro de Atacama Celestial Explorations (SPACE)
Created and operated by French astronomer Alain Maury, SPACE is the most well-equipped "tourist" observatory in Chile. It boasts 11 different telescopes: five "big" ones with apertures of 28, 24, and 17.5 inches — and six "small" ones with apertures from 8 to 14 inches. There's even an adjoining lodge so that eager observers could observe all night (note: not included in tour).
ALMA's Operations Support Facility
Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)
ALMA's 66 precision radio dishes, 12 and 7 meters across, has been probing the radio universe since its inauguration in 2013. The array itself is located on Chajnantor plateau, at the very high altitude of 5,060 m (16,600 feet). So our group will tour ALMA's Operations Support Facility, not far from San Pedro and at an elevation of 2,900 m (9,500 feet). Typically one or more of the big 12-m dishes are there for servicing, and we will also visit the ALMA control room.
El Tatio Geysers
While in San Pedro, we'll assemble well before dawn to head to El Tatio. It's the largest geyser field in the Southern Hemisphere and — at an altitude of 4,320 m (14,170 feet) — the third highest anywhere! The thin air and subfreezing predawn temperature will contrast eerily with the hot, steamy mists around you, and the geyser basin is framed to the east by a series of towering stratovolcanoes that run along the border between Chile and Bolivia.
Santiago Marriott (1 night 2 nights with Atacama Extension)
Situated in the modern Las Condes District, our five-star hotel features a premier location near Parque Arauco, downtown Santiago, and steps away from a nice shopping center. All rooms are tastefully furnished and include cable TV channels, dual phones, a minibar with a coffee machine, and a seating area. Guests can enjoy superb dining and the best Chilean wines every day. Choose from formal dining at the hotel's Latin Grill or informal dining at Aku Lounge & Bar.
Hotel Diego de Almagro, La Serena (3 nights)
This 4-star hotel in La Serena is steps from the Pacific Ocean, the town's historic lighthouse, and a pleasant seaside walkway. It's stylishly designed with clean lines and a contemporary European feel. It's a smoke-free facility, and there's a fitness center. Free Wi-Fi access is offered throughout the property. Each of the 238 rooms at Diego de Almagro La Serena is air conditioned and comes with a flat-screen cable TV and a safety deposit box.
Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas, San Pedro (3 nights on post-tour Atacama Extension)
This charming 3-star hotel is situated only 2 km from Pukará de Quitor ruins. It's located in a quiet neighborhood that's just a short walk from the colorful streets of downtown San Pedro. Free Wi-Fi access is available in the common areas. All rooms at the property include a private bathroom with free toiletries, a safety-deposit box, a fan and heating. Hotel La Casa de Don Tomás features an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant, a snack bar — and night skies dark enough for stargazing.
Group 1 Itinerary for S&T's 2019 Solar Eclipse & Southern Stargazing Tour
|Date||Itinerary at a Glance||Accommodation||Meals|
|Saturday, June 29, 2019||Depart for Chile||(overnight flight)||Meals aloft|
|Sunday, June 30||Santiago||Marriott||L, D|
|Monday, July 1||Santiago & La Serena||Diego de Almagro||B, L, D|
|Tuesday, July 2||Eclipse Viewing at Casa Molle||Diego de Almagro||B, L, D|
|Wednesday, July 3||Observatory Tour||Diego de Almagro||B, L, D|
|Thursday, July 4||Vicuña & Santiago||(overnight flight)||B, L, meals aloft|
|Friday, July 5||Arrive at home||—||—|
Saturday, June 29, 2019 — Depart from your home
Overnight flight to Chile dinner and breakfast (typically) aloft.
Santiago is a vibrant, modern city of more than 5 million people.
Sunday, June 30 — Santiago
Arrive this morning in Santiago and transfer to your 5-star hotel located in the Las Condes business district. After a short afternoon orientation, we'll visit Chile's National Astronomical Observatory. Operated by the Department of Astronomy of the University of Chile, the observatory is situated on Cerro Calán, which offers breathtaking views of the city. Upon return to our hotel, we'll gather for a welcome dinner. (Lunch voucher and dinner included.)
Monday, July 1 — Santiago & La Serena
Morning flight to La Serena. After a short city tour we'll transfer to our hotel. In the evening, we get to explore the southern sky during an evening excursion to a private, well-equipped observatory. If you've never seen the Magellanic Clouds and deep-sky spectacles such as the Tarantula Nebula and globular cluster 47 Tucanae, you're in for a real treat!(Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.)
Hotel Diego de Almagro, La Serena
Tuesday, July 2 — Eclipse Day!
After breakfast, you'll transfer by bus to join Group 2 at Casa Molle Villa & Golf resort, our exclusive eclipse-viewing site. Enjoy the spacious grounds of the resort while getting a final briefing about the total solar eclipse we will be seeing this afternoon. After lunch, we'll gather at our private eclipse-viewing area. Timing details appear in the table below. After the eclipse, we'll celebrate with champagne and cocktails and have dinner at the garden salon to commemorate this remarkable event. After the festivities end, you'll return by bus to La Serena. (Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.)
Hotel Diego de Almagro, La Serena
Guests on Sky & Telescope's tour will view the eclipse in late afternoon amid the lush splendor of Casa Molle Villa & Golf, a 5-star resort nestled in Chile's verdant Elqui Valley.
Total Solar Eclipse of July 2, 2019
as viewed from Casa Molle Villa & Golf, El Molle, Chile (70.9428°W, 29.9828°S)
|Event||Universal Time||Local time||Sun's alt.||Sun's az.|
|Start of partial eclipse (C1)||19:23:03||3:23:03||25°||320°|
|Start of total eclipse (C2)||20:38:25||4:38:25||13°||307°|
|Maximum eclipse (mid-totality)||20:39:36||4:39:36||13°||307°|
|End of total eclipse (C3)||20:40:46||4:40:46||13°||307°|
|End of partial eclipse (C4)*||21:46:40||5:46:40||1°||297°|
Data courtesy Xavier Jubier. *Not visible (blocked by hills that rise 4° above true horizon).
Wednesday, July 3 — Observatory Tour
Soon after breakfast, we travel north from La Serena along the Pan-American Highway and then into the Chilean Andes for a day-long tour of La Silla Observatory (tentative destination). Like others in this geographical area, this observatory is located far from sources of light pollution, and it boasts one of the darkest night skies on Earth. Here ESO operates two 3.6-m telescopes, including the New Technology Telescope (NTT). After returning from the summit, enjoy a late afternoon at your leisure before dinner. (Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.)
Hotel Diego de Almagro, La Serena
Pisco tasting at Capel distillery during S&T's 2017 tour of Chile
Thursday, July 4 — Vicuña & Santiago
This morning we'll travel to the Capel pisco distillery to learn about the development of pisco, a pure and aromatic distillation produced from Muscatel grapes grown in the microclimate of the Elqui Valley. After lunch, transfer to the La Serena airport for a flight to Santiago. Those continuing on the post-trip extension to the Atacama Desert will overnight at the Marriott Hotel in Santiago. (Breakfast and lunch included)
Santiago Marriott (if going on Atacama extension)
Friday, July 5 — Home!
Arrive at your home city after an overnight flight from Santiago.
OPTIONAL POST-TOUR EXTENSION TO ATACAMA DESERT
Any trip to Chile would not be complete without a visit to the vast and colorful Atacama Desert. Here's your chance to see one of the driest places on Earth! Our tour includes visits to the otherworldly El Tatio geyser field, a second night of stargazing at a private observatory, and a specially arranged visit to the Atacama large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA).
Chile's Atacama Desert is a bleak but colorful landscape that's full of geologic wonders.
S&T / Kelly Beatty
Group 1 Itinerary for "Post-Tour Extension to Atacama Desert"
|Date||Itinerary at a Glance||Accommodation||Meals|
|Thursday, July 4||Santiago||Marriott||—|
|Friday, July 5||Santiago & San Pedro de Atacama||La Casa de Don Tomas||B, L, D|
|Saturday, July 6||Atacama Desert||La Casa de Don Tomas||B, L, D|
|Sunday, July 7||El Tatio Geysers, ALMA, & SPACE||La Casa de Don Tomas||B, L, D|
|Monday, July 8||San Pedro & Santiago||Overnight flight||B, D|
|Tuesday, July 9||Arrive at home||—||—|
Thursday, July 4 — Santiago
After our flight from La Serena to Santiago, you'll transfer from the airport to your hotel for a leisurely evening on your own. Dinner not included.
Friday, July 5 — Santiago & San Pedro de Atacama
After breakfast at the hotel, we'll transfer to the airport in time to board a late-morning flight to Calama. We'll be met at the airport and transfer to quaint regional hub of San Pedro de Atacama. On the way, we'll observe the striking salt-covered Cordillera de la Sal. After lunch at a local restaurant, the afternoon is free to explore San Pedro and to get acclimatized to the 7,900-foot altitude. In late afternoon, we depart to watch sunset at Moon and Death Valley. Then we return to the hotel and enjoy dinner together. (Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.)
Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas, San Pedro
Most of the southern-sky features seen here await you on Sky & Telescope's 2019 eclipse tour. At left are the Carina complex, Southern Cross, and Coal Sack. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds adorn the sky at right.
S&T / Kelly Beatty
Saturday, July 6 — Atacama Desert
After breakfast at the hotel, we depart at 8:30 am for a full-day excursion to Salar de Atacama, Chaxa lagoon, Socaire, the altiplanic lagoons of Mizcanti and Meñiques, and the Atacama's Tropic of Capricorn marker. We'll stop for lunch at a local restaurant in Socaire (Ayllu). After returning to hotel, we'll gather for dinner. (Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.)
Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas, San Pedro
The views were awesome with this giant reflector at SPACE, a tourist observatory near San Pedro de Atacama.
Sunday, July 7 — El Tatio Geysers, ALMA, and SPACE
We leave the hotel at 5:00 a.m. (an early departure!) to reach the other-worldly El Tatio Geysers in time for sunrise. Situated at an altitude of 14,170 feet (4,320 m), this is one of the highest geothermal areas on Earth. Be sure to bring warm clothing and gloves! We'll have a picnic breakfast served at the geysers, then return to the hotel at approximately noon and have lunch. In the afternoon we'll travel to the Operations Support Facility of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the most advanced and sensitive array of radio telescopes on the planet! After our behind-the-scenes tour, we'll return to the hotel in late afternoon, with some time on our own to rest before gathering for dinner.
After nightfall, we travel a short distance from town to the San Pedro de Atacama Celestial Explorations (SPACE), a privately owned complex of telescopes designed to thrill you with views of the southern sky. We'll return to the hotel late — but happy! (Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.)
Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas, San Pedro
Monday, July 8 — San Pedro & Santiago
Today we can relax. Enjoy leisure time after breakfast (lunch is on your own). We'll transfer to the Calama airport for a midday flight to Santiago. Bid farewell to our fellow travelers during a buffet dinner at Holiday Inn Hotel at the Santiago International Airport. Then we'll get assistance at the airport as we check in for our international flights to return home. (Breakfast and dinner included.)
Tuesday, July 9 — Home!
Arrive at your home city after an overnight flight from Santiago.
South American solar eclipse on July 2
Above: Beverley Sinclair’s photo of the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, highlighting the diamond ring effect.
A total eclipse of the sun is coming to the South American countries of Chile and Argentina in the late afternoon hours of July 2, 2019. This is the first total solar eclipse since the great American total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017.
We refer to the map below. Outside the narrow path of totality (in blue) that swings over the South Pacific Ocean and southern South America, a much broader swath of the Pacific, South America and southern Central America sits beneath the moon’s penumbral shadow, to undergo a partial eclipse of the sun. It’ll be an exceedingly shallow solar eclipse for southern Central America, however. Be sure to use proper eye protection any time the sun is not eclipsed or in any stage of a partial eclipse (even when it’s over 99 percent but less than 100 percent eclipsed)!
The narrow dark blue corridor depicts the path of totality you must be on that path to see a total eclipse. The broader swath shows varying degrees of a partial solar eclipse. The numbers (0.80 to 0.20) indicate how much of the sun’s diameter is covered over by the moon. The total eclipse will start at sunrise, at left, and – some 2 2/3 hours later – it’ll end at sunset over eastern Argentina. The path of totality is approximately 7,000 miles (11,200 km) long. The maximum path width is 125 miles (201 km). An animated version of the above map whereby the small black dot depicts totality. The large gray circle shows the region of a partial eclipse of the sun.
Unless you’re on a cruise ship, or perhaps an airplane, you can only watch the total solar eclipse from Chile or Argentina in South America. Oneo, a small and uninhabited atoll of the Pitcairn Islands, is the only Pacific island where the total solar eclipse is visible, starting at 10:24 a.m. local time (18:24 Universal Time). Totality lasts for 2 minutes and 53 seconds. Numerous Pacific islands, on the other hand, can observe a partial solar eclipse – but, once again, we stress the need for proper eye protection.
View larger. | Stephen Aman in Orlando, Florida, kindly provided this chart of eclipse times for all major cities and islands that lie in its path. Thank you, Stephen!
We expect eclipse chasers to flock to the big cities of Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, in their quest to witness the most spectacular of natural wonders, a total eclipse of the sun. It’s been said that on a scale of one to ten, a total solar eclipse rates a million! After seeing a total solar eclipse for the first time in Wyoming on August 21, 2017, I have to agree with the assessment. If you live in South America and are within traveling distance of totality, by all means take the trip. It’s an experience that’ll live with you for the rest of your days.
View larger. Zooming in on the path of totality going through Chile and Argentina via Mark Littmann and Fred Espenak.
As evident on the map above, Santiago, Chile, lies to the south of the total eclipse path, whereas Buenos Aires, Argentina, sits at the northern edge. We give the eclipse times in local time for Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, plus two cities within the total eclipse path: La Serena, Chile, and Rio Cuarto, Argentina.
Local eclipse times:
Partial solar eclipse begins: 4:21 p.m local time
Maximum eclipse (sun’s disk 92.1 percent covered over): 4:37 p.m. local time
Partial solar eclipse ends: 7:44 p.m. local time
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Partial solar eclipse begins: 4:36 p.m. local time
Maximum eclipse (sun’s disk 99.7 percent covered over): 5:44 p.m. local time
Sunset (eclipse still in process): 5:51 p.m. local time
La Serena, Chile
Partial solar eclipse begins: 3:23 p.m.local time
Total solar eclipse begins: 4:38:13 p.m. local time
Maximum eclipse: 4:39:23 p.m. local time
Total solar eclipse ends: 4:40:31 p.m. local time
Partial solar eclipse ends 5:47 p.m. local time
Rio Cuarto, Argentina
Partial solar eclipse begins: 4:31 p.m. local time
Total solar eclipse begins: 5:41:26 p.m. local time
Maximum eclipse: 5:42:26 p.m. local time
Total solar eclipse ends: 5:43:26 p.m local time
Sunset (eclipse still in process): 6:22 p.m. local time
Solar eclipse calculator via EclipseWise
Eclipse information via TimeandDate
If you want to find out when (or if) this eclipse happens in your sky, click on either one of the above links or this Google map.
View larger. Map of total eclipse path through Argentina via Eclipsophile. Along the central line of the total eclipse path, totality lasts for about 2 minutes at the beginning and end points, and around 4 1/2 minutes around the midpoint. Click here for details.
What causes a solar eclipse?
A solar eclipse is only possible at new moon, when the moon in its orbit swings between Earth and the sun. Then the moon blocks out the solar disk, either partially or totally, as viewed from a portion of the Earth’s surface. More often than not, however, no solar eclipse happens at new moon, because the new moon swings to the north or south of the sun. Despite having 13 new moons in 2019, there are only three solar eclipses:
January 6, 2019: partial solar eclipse
July 2, 2019: total solar eclipse
December 26, 2019: annular solar eclipse
This year, in 2019, we have 13 new moons and 3 solar eclipses (P = partial, T = total and A = annular). We also have 12 full moons and 2 lunar eclipses (t = total and p = partial). Moon phase table via Astropixels.
During the course of one year, the new moon swings anywhere from 5 degrees (10 moon diameters) north of the ecliptic (Earth’s orbital plane) to 5 degrees south of the ecliptic. Yet a solar eclipse can only happen when the new moon is appreciably close to the ecliptic. After the year’s first solar eclipse on January 6, 2019, the following five new moons swung too far south of the ecliptic for a solar eclipse to take place. After the year’s second solar eclipse on July 2, 2019, the following five new moons will swing too far north of the ecliptic to feature a solar eclipse.
A = total solar eclipse, B = annular eclipse and C = partial solar eclipse.
The upcoming total solar eclipse on July 2, 2019, depends on more than the fortuitous alignment of the new moon with the Earth and sun. For a total solar eclipse to occur, the angular diameter of the moon has to exceed that of the sun. During this eclipse, the new moon comes considerably closer than its average distance from Earth. Yet, at the same time, the Earth is only a few days shy of reaching its farthest point from the sun.
The closer moon makes the new moon appear larger, whereas the more distant sun makes the sun appear smaller. Because the new moon looms larger than the sun in Earth’s sky, the moon totally covers over the solar disk during the total solar eclipse of July 2, 2019.
Annular solar eclipse – called a “ring of fire” eclipse – captured by photographer Geoff Sims on May 10, 2013. Used with permission.
Six lunar months (six new moons) after the total solar eclipse on July 2, 2019, the year’s final solar eclipse will fall on December 26, 2019. But this time around, the December 2019 new moon will be about 10,000 miles (16,000 km) farther than the new moon of July 2019. Also, the sun will be about 3 million miles (5 million km) closer than it was in July 2019. On December 26, 2019, the smaller new moon won’t be able to totally cover over the larger solar disk, so a ring of sunshine will surround the new moon silhouette, to showcase an annular eclipse of the sun.
The total solar eclipse on July 2, 2019, will be the last total eclipse of the sun to grace Earth’s sky until December 14, 2020. Hard to believe, but the path of totality on both July 2, 2019, and December 14, 2020, will sweep over Chile and Argentina, to give these lucky South American residents a total solar eclipse for two years in a row.
Bottom line: A total eclipse of the sun is coming to the South American countries of Chile and Argentina in the late afternoon hours of July 2, 2019.