All to Know About the 2019 Solar Eclipse

How to See the Next Solar Eclipse: July 2, 2019

Eclipse Guide Space Tourism

Seeing a solar eclipse is one of the most impressive and rare space tourism experiences on earth.

Following the 2017 solar eclipse across the U.S., traveling to see an eclipse is an increasingly popular activity for those of us who love space here on earth.

In 2019, there will be another total solar eclipse visible on earth – the first one since the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. If you’re curious about the next solar eclipse, this post has everything you need to know. We cover the basics of eclipses, why you should travel to see the solar eclipse in 2019, when and where you can see the eclipse – and how to travel to each destination. We also cover eclipse viewing basics and give a teaser of the 2020 eclipse!

Are you ready to plan your next experience with totality? Dive into this post!

What is a Solar Eclipse?

If you’re not familiar with the science behind a solar eclipse, that’s okay – you can still enjoy seeing one even if you’re not an astronomer or astrophysicist!

The Physics of Solar Eclipses

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth. This causes two shadows to fall on the earth – the moon’s shadows – also called the umbra and the penumbra. The path of the penumbra on the earth creates a partial solar eclipse; the path of the umbra creates “totality,” where the sun is completely blocked by the moon.

What is a Total Solar Eclipse?

A total solar eclipse is an eclipse where the sun is completely blocked by the moon. This is in contrast to a partial solar eclipse, where only a portion of the sun is blocked, and an annular solar eclipse, where the moon passes between the sun and earth but doesn’t completely block the light.

The Types of Solar Eclipses

What Happens During a Total Solar Eclipse?

During a total solar eclipse, the sun is totally obscured by the moon. This means that during totality, the sun is completely darkened, and the sky goes dark as well. Imagine sunset, dusk, and sunrise all occurring in less than five minutes… that’s an accurate description of the experience of totality.

Important Details of the Solar Eclipse in 2019

Totality during the Solar Eclipse

Curious when and where the 2019 solar eclipse is happening? Read on to learn all the logistics of this eclipse, plus tips on how you can travel and safely view the eclipse.

When Will the Total Solar Eclipse Occur in 2019?

The total solar eclipse will occur on July 2, 2019, from 4:55 pm UTC to 9:50 pm UTC. The maximum of the eclipse will occur at 7:23 pm UTC.

This window of time reflects how long the entire planet will see the eclipse – not how long you’ll be able to see it in any given location.

Where the total solar eclipse is visible from land, totality will last between 2 minutes, 3 seconds and 2 minutes, 36 seconds.

Days Until the Solar Eclipse 2019:

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Click here to add the solar eclipse to your calendar.

Where Will the 2019 Total Solar Eclipse be visible?

The majority of the 2019 solar eclipse is visible over the Pacific Ocean; the end of the eclipse passes over the southern portion of South America. The path of totality across South America cuts a line from La Serena, Chile toward Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Here are some of the cities in the path of totality:

  • La Serena, Chile
  • San Juan, Argentina
  • Río Cuarto, Argentina
  • Junín, Argentina

Other major cities in the region are not in the path of totality, but will see a partial solar eclipse:

  • Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
  • Adamstown, Pitcairn Islands
  • Stanley, Falkland Islands
  • Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
  • São Paulo, Brazil
  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Santiago, Chile
  • Easter Island, Chile
  • Lima, Lima, Peru
  • Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • La Paz, Bolivia
  • Asuncion, Paraguay
  • Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil

2019 Solar Eclipse Map

To explore the path of the eclipse and totality, click on the map below. You will be taken to the NASA resource page for the 2019 solar eclipse:

NASA 2019 Solar Eclipse Map

You can explore different points along the path of totality on this map!

Is it Worth It to Travel to See Totality?

You’ve probably noticed we talk a lot about totality – and how exciting it is that you can see a total solar eclipse in 2019. You might wonder: Is totality really worth it? Isn’t seeing a partial solar eclipse enough?

While seeing a partial solar eclipse is cool, there are few experiences on earth that compare to experiencing totality during a solar eclipse.

“What I find most amazing, having studied eclipses throughout history, is that no matter the time period or the scientific knowledge (or lack thereof), human responses to an eclipse are consistently, universally, expressions of awe and wonder, and even fear and terror,” author Steve Ruskin told CNET back in 2017. Ruskin wrote the book on totality, America’s First Great Eclipse, and has studied the impact of totality on human history.

Experiencing Totality - Andrew Kearns via FlickrPhoto credit: Andrew Kearns via Flickr

The Historic Impact of Totality

Throughout history, before the science of eclipses was fully understood, humans have attributed eclipses to a variety of mythological and religious reasons. The Vikings believed that wolves chased the sun and moon and occasionally caught them – causing an eclipse. The Aborigines in Australia believed that another tribe living on the moon was punishing them when an eclipse occurred.

Throughout history, eclipses have served as omens: of bad fortune (for the Babylonians and Chinese dynasties), of angry gods (for Columbus subjugating the Jamaicans), or of doomsday (in 18th Century London). Now, totality can still inspire primal responses in those who witness it.

Modern Experiences of Totality

In short, experiencing totality is both a semi-spiritual event and a communal one. There’s a powerful, bigger-than-ourselves emotion to watching the day turn to night for a few minutes and sharing that experience with a community of fellow eclipse chasers. Many people experience chills, feel deeply moved, and even cry out in awe during totality. Who wouldn’t want to experience that for themselves?

Speaking of eclipse chasers, many people are so moved by the experience of totality that they travel the world seeking it out. One man holds the world record: he has seen 27 eclipses! Read the first-hand account of anyone who’s seen an eclipse, and it’s easy to understand why. If you can travel to experience totality in the 2019 solar eclipse, you’ll likely never forget it.

Let’s dive into where and how you can travel to see the total solar eclipse in 2019.

Seeing the 2019 Solar Eclipse in Chile

Sunrise in Chile - Christopher Michel via FlickrPhoto credit: Christopher Michel via Flickr

Chile is a tall, narrow country, so the opportunities to experience the solar eclipse in Chile are somewhat limited. Here’s what you need to know.

Where to See Totality in Chile

As mentioned above, the largest city in Chile in the path of totality is La Serena. Neighboring Coquimbo will also experience totality, and the small town of La Higuera is almost exactly on the central line of the eclipse path.

Santiago, Chile will experience a partial solar eclipse. Roughly 92% of the sun will be blocked during the partial solar eclipse in Santiago.

Where to Fly in Chile to See the Solar Eclipse

If you are flying to Chile from another country, plan to fly into Santiago, Chile. From there, you can either fly or drive to La Serena.

It is possible to fly directly to La Serena, Chile. The regional airport, La Florida Airport (LSC), has flights on JetSmart, LATAM Express, and Sky Airline. All three of these airlines fly between La Serena and Santiago, the nearest international airport.

La Serena, Coquimbo, and La Higuera are roughly 300 miles north of Santiago. It takes 5-6 hours to drive from Santiago to La Serena. Plan ahead and arrive 1-2 days before the eclipse to avoid traffic and delays.

Tips for Traveling to See in Chile to see the Solar Eclipse

Total Solar Eclipse in Chile

Here are some quick tips if you plan to travel to Chile to see the solar eclipse in 2019:

1. Book now.

If you are planning to travel for the eclipse, especially in the path of totality, flights, hotels, and car rentals will only get more expensive.

2. Give yourself extra time.

Given the popularity of the 2017 solar eclipse in the U.S., travelers are increasingly willing to devote time and energy to see a solar eclipse. Arrive early in each place you visit and give yourself extra transit time.

3. Prepare mentally: the eclipse may not be visible.

Unfortunately, several issues conspired to make it possible that you may not see the eclipse.

  • First, the weather: July is mid-winter in Chile, and the skies may be overcast.
  • Second, the angle of visibility: The solar eclipse will occur as the sun sets, low above the horizon (13.5°) and in the northwest (307°). Be sure to take this into account when planning where you’ll try to see the eclipse. You need an unobstructed view to toward the northwest horizon.

Total Solar Eclipse

4. Pack for winter weather.

Winters in Chile are mild, but it can still get cold at night (as low as 45°-50°F). Additionally, there may be showers somedays; while July isn’t the rainiest month of the year, it’s definitely possible.

5. Spend extra time exploring Chile.

You’re traveling all the way to Chile… why not explore? Here are some great resources:

This is a short list of resources to get you inspired to support the local economy through tourism during your trip to see the solar eclipse.

Solar Eclipse 2019 Tours in Chile

Solar Eclipse Viewing - USFWS Mountain-Prairie via FlickrPhoto credit: USFWS Mountain Prairie via Flickr

Want to see the solar eclipse but not worry about the travel logistics? Here are a few eye-catching guided tours you can book instead:

Whether you choose to travel independently or book a tour, you’ll have a great experience seeing the solar eclipse in Chile in 2019.

Seeing the 2019 Solar Eclipse in Argentina

Eclipse in Argentina - Jimmy Baikovicius via FlickrPhoto credit: Jimmy Baikovicius via Flickr

Of the two countries where you can experience totality during the 2019 solar eclipse, Argentina is arguably the better destination: a greater swath of the country will experience totality, including several cities perfect for a visit.

Where to See Totality in Argentina

The first city to experience totality in Argentina is San Juan, in western Argentina. Sitting every so barely within the path of totality, this town is home to roughly 112,000 people – this number is expected to swell in the week surrounding the eclipse.

The largest city to experience totality in Argentina is Río Cuarto. Located centrally along the path of the eclipse across Argentina, you can experience a full 2 minutes of totality if you choose to view the eclipse here. Other towns in eastern Argentina, including Junín and Chivilcoy, will also fall within the dark shadow of totality.

Buenos Aires, Argentina will experience a partial solar eclipse. Roughly 99.5% of the sun will be blocked in Buenos Aires – but it will not be full totality! This means there’s a greater risk of eye damage as people viewing from Buenos Aires might not use adequate eye protection to view the partial solar eclipse. For more tips, see the section on safety tips for viewing the eclipse.

Where to Fly in Argentina to See the Solar Eclipse

If you plan to view the solar eclipse in Argentina, fly into Buenos Aires. Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE) is the primary airport for the area, and international flights arrive and depart daily.

From Buenos Aires, drive times to the major cities along the path of totality are as follows:

  • 2 hours to Chivilcoy
  • 3.5 hours to Junín
  • 8 hours to Río Cuarto
  • 14 hours to San Juan

There is a small airport in San Juan, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento Airport (UAQ), with domestic flights from Buenos Aires.

Alternatively, destinations within 90 minutes of Buenos Aires, including LujanCañuelas, and Lobos are all within the path of totality, so it is possible to plan your solar eclipse viewing as a day trip.

Tips for Traveling to See in Argentina to see the Solar Eclipse

Partial Solar Eclipse

Here are some quick tips if you plan to travel to Argentina to see the solar eclipse in 2019:

1. Book now.

If you are planning to travel for the eclipse, especially in the path of totality, flights, hotels, and car rentals will only get more expensive.

2. Give yourself extra time.

Given the popularity of the 2017 solar eclipse in the U.S., travelers are increasingly willing to devote time and energy to see a solar eclipse. Arrive early in each place you visit and give yourself extra transit time.

3. Prepare mentally: the eclipse may not be visible.

Similar to in Chile, the weather and angle of visibility may impact whether or not you can see the solar eclipse. In Argentina, the solar eclipse will be visible on the horizon (from 10° in San Juan to 0° near Buenos Aires), so any clouds in the northeastern sky will impact the ability to see the eclipse.

Solar Eclipse in Clouds

4. Pack for winter weather.

Again, similar to Chile, the weather in Argentina is temperate (45°F at night to 70°F during the day) in July. You might not need lots of layers for your trip, but you should pack for potential rain.

5. Spend extra time exploring Argentina.

Like Chile, Argentina is a captivating place to travel. Combine your trip to see the eclipse to experience all that Argentina has to offer.

This is a short list to get you inspired to support the local economy through tourism during your trip.

Solar Eclipse 2019 Tours in Argentina

Solar Eclipse - NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterPhoto credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Flickr

Want to see the solar eclipse but not worry about the travel logistics? Here are a few eye-catching guided tours you can book instead:

Whether you choose to travel independently or book a tour, you’ll have a great experience seeing the solar eclipse in Argentina in 2019.

Seeing the 2019 Solar Eclipse from the Pacific Islands

Solar Eclipse in the Pacific Islands - Chris Hoare via FlickrPhoto credit: Chris Hoare via Flickr

If you’re looking for a different eclipse experience – and willing to miss out on totality, which we don’t recommend – you could book a trip to one of the Pacific Islands that will experience a partial solar eclipse in 2019.

You can see a partial solar eclipse from Easter Island, which is technically part of Chile. From Easter Island, 75% of the sun will be obscured at the maximum point during the eclipse.

The Pitcairn Islands are another Pacific island destination for the solar eclipse. From Adamstown, you’ll experience a 97.5% partial solar eclipse!

It is possible to experience the solar eclipse from Papeete on Tahiti in French Polynesia. There, the sun will be blocked 57% during the eclipse.

Several of the Cook Islands are also within the path of the partial solar eclipse, with varying eclipse visibility: Hauti (67%), Mataura (73%), Rivavae (78%), and Ahurei (95%) are all great spots if you’re looking to get really remote for your eclipse viewing.

Cruises to See the 2019 Solar Eclipse

One last option to see the solar eclipse or totality in 2019 is to take a cruise. There are a few providers offering custom tour packages that will sail the Pacific for 10-20 days surrounding the eclipse, and allow you to view totality from the sea!

  • Travel Quest Tours is offering a 15-day cruise including a stop on the Pitcairn Islands and experiencing totality at sea.
  • Similarly, Eclipse Tours is offering a luxury yacht cruise for 11 days – including totality on day 6 – from Tahiti.
  • Wilderness Travel is also offering a 15-day cruise with totality-at-sea and several astronomers to give talks throughout the week.

These itineraries are all tempting, but the price tickets match the luxury experience… then again, how often can you see totality at sea in between days on tropical islands and snorkeling coral reefs!

Tips for Viewing the Solar Eclipse in 2019

You’ve booked your tickets, and now you’ve arrived. With all the preparation it takes to travel for the 2019 solar eclipse, you might not have thought about how to actually view the eclipse! Don’t worry, we’ve got that covered too.

Safety Warning: Protect Your Eyes During the Solar Eclipse!

Viewing the Solar Eclipse - North Charleston via FlickrPhoto credit: Chris Hoare via Flickr

First and foremost, it’s important to protect your eyes during any solar eclipse, including the 2019 solar eclipse. Throughout the entire duration of the eclipse, with the exception of totality, you will need to wear solar viewing glasses that allow you to view the eclipse in its partial stage without damaging your eyes.

Never look directly at the sun during a partial solar eclipse.

During totality, it is safe to look at the sun without eye protection, but it’s important to look for signals that totality has begun/ended. Look for Baily’s Beats (small beads of bright white light from the sun’s corona) or the “Diamond Ring” effect (a bright flash of light), both of which can occur right at the moment totality begins and ends.

Diamond Ring during Solar Eclipse - Sheila Sund via FlickrPhoto credit: Shelia Sund via Flickr

Even looking at the sun with 99% coverage (such as what will be visible in Buenos Aires) can cause permanent eye damage.

If you need solar eclipse glasses, Amazon has a good selection. Look for those which are ISO approved to ensure you’ll get the proper eye protection:

Pro-tip: If you are traveling from outside the region, buy and bring your own solar eclipse glasses. They fold down small, and then you know you’ll have a good pair when it’s time to view the eclipse.

How to Photograph the Solar Eclipse 2019

Photographing the Solar Eclipse

Similar to your eyes, a camera lens can be damaged by photographing the sun directly. If you plan to shoot photographs during the partial solar eclipse, you’ll need a solar filter for your lens; you can also make one from solar paper and cardboard.

Additionally, you should not look through the viewfinder of your camera without eye protection on. If you have a digital display, you can use this to view your shots.

Other tips for photographing a solar eclipse:

  1. Be sure to set up and check your settings before you shoot. You may even want to try some solar photography in advance of the eclipse so you have an understanding of the conditions and effect of the solar filter on your shots.
  2. Conditions change quickly during an eclipse, so you’ll need to have your camera set to manual and adjust throughout the eclipse.
  3. During the partial eclipse, set your F-stop to between 8 and 16, and your shutter speed between 1/30 to 1/4000. You’ll need to adjust these both as more of the sun is obscured.
  4. During totality, you’ll change from daytime settings to dusk/nighttime settings in a matter of moments. Similar to with your eyes, you can remove your solar filter during totality and shoot without the filter, but be sure to reduce your F-stop and decrease your shutter speed.
  5. In all cases, be sure to mount your camera on a tripod to stabilize your photos and get crystal-clear lines between the moon and sun.

In the end, photographing a solar eclipse is partially trial-and-error, so be sure to enjoy the eclipse with your own eyes (through solar eclipse glasses!) too.

Diamond Ring during Solar Eclipse

When is the Next Solar Eclipse?

Following the total solar eclipse on July 2, 2019, the next solar eclipse will occur on December 14, 2020. This guide will be updated in mid-August 2019 with tips and recommendations for the 2020 eclipse.

Featured photo credit: Bob Gooday via Flickr