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