Here's the First Image from the Only Total Solar Eclipse of 2019!

Earth is once again experiencing the most stunning celestial alignment — a total solar eclipse.

Today (July 2), the sun and moon are aligning so precisely that for a swath of South America, day will briefly turn to twilight and the sun's ghostly halo-like corona will become visible. But the moment of totality is bracketed by the slow march of the moon across the sun's disk. That process has just begun.

Related: The Total Solar Eclipse Is Today! Here's What to Expect

The only total solar eclipse of 2019's beginning, as seen from La Silla Observatory in Chile.

(Image credit: ESO)

Totality will begin near La Serena, Chile, at 4:38 p.m. EDT (2038 GMT) and will last in La Serena for 2 minutes and 18 seconds. The eclipse will progress eastward along the band of totality, ending near Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Viewers north and south of the band of totality will be able to catch a partial solar eclipse through the afternoon, with beginning and ending times dependent on their precise location. For these skywatchers, the moon will seemingly take a bite out of the sun, then retreat.

A closer view of the beginning stages of the eclipse shows features on the disk of the sun.

If you're on the ground in South America, remember it's never safe to look at the sun without eye protection except for during totality! Even when the moon partially obscures the sun, you should protect your eyes by wearing eclipse glasses, using a solar viewer, or watching the spectacle indirectly.

It's much easier to safely watch the solar eclipse online, of course; just tune into any of the available webcasts or watch at Space.com courtesy of ESO.

Email Meghan Bartels at mbartels@space.com or follow her @meghanbartels. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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