An estimated 37,000 people (including us) came to the city of San Juan, Argentina to see the July 2019 total solar eclipse. On the day of the eclipse, many of us traveled a few hours outside of San Juan to rural areas like Bellavista to be in the direct path of the eclipse and to see full totality. It was our very first total solar eclipse, but it won’t be our last. These photos and video should help you see why witnessing this fantastic natural phenomenon inspired us to also cover the December 202o total solar eclipse.

Solar Eclipse 2019 San Jose Argentina

Signs touting the total solar eclipse were up all over San Juan, Argentina and in the countryside around the city.

Highlights of the July 2019 total solar eclipse

The path of the July 2, 2019 total solar eclipse spanned about 6,000 miles (9,656 km). It started just east of New Zealand and most of its path crossed the mostly-uninhabited Pacific Ocean until it reached South America where its shadow crossed about 800 miles (1,287 km) of Chile and Argentina.

Andes Bellavista Argentina solar eclipse

The windy hilltop vantage point where we watched the 2019 total solar eclipse with views of the Andes near Bellavista, Argentina.

Here’s a step-by-amazing-step look at the 2019 total solar eclipse near San Juan, Argentina.

composite solar eclipse 2019 phases

First contact (upper left), when the moon first touches the sun and begins the eclipse, started at 4:25 pm. This image shows all of the subsequent major stages of the July 2, 2019 total solar eclipse. Totality ended at 5:42 pm, followed by a very dramatic sunset.

partial eclipse 2019

The moon slowly slid across the sun for 1 hour and 14 minutes until the sun was totally covered. At 5:39 pm, when the moon totally covered the sun, totality began. This is called second contact.

solar eclipse 2019 diamond ring

This eclipse phenomenon is called the Diamond Ring which is seen for just a few seconds before totality begins.

solar eclipse 2019 Baily's Beads

This eclipse phenomenon is called Baily’s Beads and it occurs moments before totality.

full solar eclipse 2019

The maximum totality of the 2019 total solar eclipse was 4 minutes and 32 seconds, but that occurred in the middle of the Pacific. Where we were, near Bellavista, Argentina, totality lasted 2 minutes and 30 seconds. At 5:42 we had third contact which marked the end of totality.

Sun's corona - full solar eclipse 2019

The sun’s corona during totality.

solar eclipse 2019 setting behind the Andes

At 6:32 pm, 50 minutes after totality ended, a partially-eclipsed sun set behind the Andes.

solar eclipse 2019 sunset

The partially-eclipsed sun setting behind the Andes in Argentina.

And, yes. We now have Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” on perma-play in our heads. It could be worse. It could be “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.

Watch the build-up and then totality in our time-lapse video, shot with our Brinno camera, below.

And see the first dramatic moments of totality, which is more like someone turning off a switch than gradual sunset, in our video, below.

What’s the big deal about a total solar eclipse?

  • A total solar eclipse is an extremely rare thing. Here’s why.
  • There are between two and five solar eclipses every year, but total solar eclipses are even rarer because many elements must align in order for the moon to completely block the sun.
  • On average, there’s a total solar eclipse every 18 months.
  • 668 days passed between the previous total solar eclipse (the one that crossed the U.S.) and the one on July 2, 2019.
Total solar eclipse 2019 Bellavista Argentina

Total solar eclipse.

  • There will be 68 total solar eclipses in this century.
  • On average, total solar eclipses recur at the same place only once every 360 to 410 years.
  • If you add up the time of the longest duration of totality for all of the total solar eclipses this century it adds up to less than four hours. To put this into perspective, there are 876,000 hours in a century.
  • Totality often lasts less than one minute.
  • The eclipse shadow may only be a few miles across and may only pass over sections of the ocean or other uninhabited areas, which adds to the difficulty (and thrill) of seeing one.

Now go check out our post about how to photograph a solar eclipse for tips and gear recommendations that will help you take photos like a pro the next time this natural wonder comes around.


Here’s more about travel in Argentina


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