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Solar Eclipse 2019 in Chile: Chasing Totality in the Atacama Desert

This graphic shows how the eclipsed sun will look in the sky above the La Silla Observatory on July 2, 2019. The partial phase of the eclipse will begin at 3:23 p.m. EDT. Totality will begin at 4:39 p.m. EDT, and it will last 1 minute and 52 seconds there. After that, the next partial phase of the eclipse will last until
This graphic shows how the eclipsed sun will look in the sky above the La Silla Observatory on July 2, 2019. The partial phase of the eclipse will begin at 3:23 p.m. EDT. Totality will begin at 4:39 p.m. EDT, and it will last 1 minute and 52 seconds there. After that, the next partial phase of the eclipse will last until sunset. (Image credit: ESO/<a href=“http://www.twanight.org/“>B. Tafreshi</a>/<a href=“http://www.zam.fme.vutbr.cz/~druck/“>M. Druckmüller</a>/P. Aniol/K. Delcourte/<a href=“https://www.facebook.com/PetrHoralekPhotography”>P. Horálek</a>/L. Calçada/<a href=“https://mahdizamani.com/“>M. Zamani</a>)

To watch the total solar eclipse of July 2, 2019, I set out to the Atacama Desert in Chile, where totality will make its first landfall in South America. 

On the day of the eclipse, I'll be making the 90-mile (150 kilometers) drive up from La Serena, Chile to the La Silla Observatory, the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) oldest telescope facility, where thousands of visitors will congregate to watch the moon cross in front of the sun. 

This isn't my first total solar eclipse — but I am hoping it will be my first time seeing totality! For the Great American Solar Eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017, I traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, where one very obnoxious cloud stole the show right before totality. The weather forecast for this next eclipse seems promising, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed! 

You can read about my eclipse-chasing adventures in Chile in my travelogue below. I will post updates periodically (WiFi permitting) during the days leading up to the eclipse and on the big day itself. 

Related: Total Solar Eclipse 2019: A Complete Guide

Editor's Note: If you snap an amazing picture of the July 2, 2019 total solar eclipse and would like to share it with Space.com's readers, send your photos, comments, and your name and location to spacephotos@space.com.

Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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Hanneke Weitering

Hanneke Weitering is an editor at Space.com with 10 years of experience in science journalism. She has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the Space.com team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time Hanneke likes to explore the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.