OUR ECLIPSE LOCATION
For a jaw-dropping 2 ½ minutes in the late afternoon on July 2, 2019, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the countries of Chile and Argentina. Our secluded spot outside of Bella Vista, Argentina offers some of the most favorable conditions along the path of totality. Not only will you be in a prime position to experience the eclipse, but you’ll also be enveloped by one of the most remote, picturesque valleys at the base of the Andes Mountains!
Our homebase of Barreal, situated in the Calingasta Valley, is recognized as one of the best places in Argentina for skygazing, as it’s unobstructed and pollution-free skies experience around 300 days annually of clear skies. The towering Andes act as a barrier to Pacific moisture, while the arid winter climate and good western visibility provide ideal circumstances for eclipse viewing. It’s no wonder why two of Argentina’s most important observatories are located in the area and why we chose Barreal for this leg of the trip!
Map showing the path of totality over Chile and Argentina for the Total Solar Eclipse on July 2, 2019. From our location near Bella Vista, the eclipse will begin at 5:39:30 PM local time and end at 5:42:00 PM, lasting a full 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
At it's most basic, an eclipse is when the moon fully covers the sun from our perspective on earth...yet it is so much more!
Experiencing a total solar eclipse is something that affects your whole being! It is something that words can't explain - an indescribable grasp of our place in the Universe!
The last total solar eclipse to pass over Argentina was in 2012. This video captures the raw emotion released during totality!
For those who saw the 2017 U.S. Total Solar Eclipse, this may be nostalgic. For those who didn't, now is your chance! A total solar eclipse unites people from all walks of life!
WHAT IS A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE AND WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?
A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves to completely cover the Sun and forms a corona. With the Sun, Moon and Earth aligned perfectly in orbit, we experience totality when the moon’s shadow is cast directly upon our point of Earthly observation.
Why the hype for totality and how do self-proclaimed eclipse chasers get hooked? Dr. Kate Russo, author, psychologist and total eclipse addict, writes:
“A total eclipse allows you to experience the three-dimensional nature of the universe – the Sun, the Moon, and Earth are all in perfect alignment, and you are standing in the shadow of our magnificent Moon. The scale is unimaginable, yet here it is happening right on top of you and around you. It is real. You can literally feel the ominous shadow before it arrives. The temperature drops. The wind picks up speed. The Sunlight slowly dims, bathing the surroundings in an eerie twilight that produces colours with shades rarely seen in the natural world. Then it is time. Moments before totality a wall of darkness comes creeping towards you at speeds of up to 5,000 miles per hour – this is the full shadow of the Moon. You feel alive. You feel in awe. You feel a primitive fear. Then – totality. In this moment there is just you and the Universe.
After what seems like a brief moment of eternity, the Moon continues on its journey and the shadow races away, marking the return of the light. The whole event is eerie, unnatural even, and stunningly beautiful.
Pictures do not convey the experience of totality. Nothing you read, see, or hear can prepare you for the spine-tingling, goosebump-inducing experience of the total eclipse. The eerie twilight that confuses birds and other animals and, at times, humans, is like no other experience you have ever had. It is impossible to be a passive observer.
You do not simply see a total eclipse. You experience it. You are immersed in it. You are completely overwhelmed by it. Many people say that the experience of totality changes their lives. It’s very hard to capture the feel of an eclipse, but this video clip (left) may give you a ‘feel’ for totality.”
ECLIPSES ACROSS TIMES AND CULTURES
A knowledge of the history of eclipses can greatly inform not just our understanding but can change the way we experience the event itself. The history of solar eclipses and their importance in various cultures dates back 5000 years! According to NASA, petroglyphs found amongst megalithic tombs in Ireland, depict the alignment of the Sun, Moon and horizon in spirals and concentric circles. These carvings likely represented a solar eclipse that occurred in 3340 B.C. After finding a nearby basin containing the burned bones from close to 50 people, it was speculated that the group used human sacrifice to allay their superstitions of this eerie cosmic phenomenon!
The ancient Chinese, Greeks, Mayans and Babylonians also documented the occurrences of solar eclipses and revered them with various significances. Take for instance, in 840 A.D., King of the Franks, Louis the Pious, a devoutly religious man, apparently witnessed a solar eclipse and feared it was punishment from God. As legend has it, Louis was so frightened that he died spontaneously a few days after the event.
While eclipse drawings and records existed for millenia, it wasn’t until 1851 that Johann Julius Friedrich Berkowski captured the first image of a total solar eclipse corona by means of the early photographic daguerreotype. This set in motion publications and mass-information about eclipses, laying the groundwork for eclipse experiencers from around the globe to be able to hear about and witness eclipses. The spectacular imagery is likely what caught the attention of millions in 2017 who decided to drop everything to stand in the eclipse's path!
A CLOSING NOTE
The sheer awesomeness and perplexity of this rare celestial event remains as evidenced by the millions who threw out their schedules in 2017 to travel large distances and converge in the trans-US path of totality. You, if not someone you know, may still experience the aura - and repeatedly tell the stories - of those precious moments in the shadow.
Likely, during the eclipse and the surrounding adventures you will conjure up a magnificent sense of life within you and a deeper connection to the universe! But who are we to speculate about how the eclipse will uniquely affect you? There is only one way for you to find out!
The earliest known recording of an eclipse are the stone-carved drawings in Loughcrew, Ireland. (Image courtesy of newgrange.com)