Last Monday, August 21, the images of the “Great American Eclipse” seemed to take over the internet as millions of people in the United States watched the moon fully block out the sun for the first time since 1918. We would’ve loved to witness it. Both 2019 and 2020 will have an eclipse in Chile. Time to start planning!
On Monday it seemed impossible to open social media without seeing some incredible shots of this cosmic happening. NASA has a hub of information on the eclipse, including a user generated Flickr gallery with some great captures.
All the attention means that there must be an endemic of FoMO, or just old fashioned regret. Maybe you were too far off the trajectory of the moon’s shadow. Or worse, maybe it just happened to be cloudy at the moment of glory. Or like us, you were thousands of miles away on the other side of the planet.
So already, there is a buzz of suggestions and media reports pointing out that you don’t have to wait long for the next one. The Washington Post pointed out that for US viewers, it would mean waiting until 2024 for the next one.
But luckily here in Chile we have not one but two upcoming eclipses. As the UK Telegraph reports, the next one in Chile will occur on July 2, 2019. The prime viewing location for this one will be in La Serena, a popular beach destination with Chileans. Head inward to the Elqui Valley, which has its reputation as a mystic place.
It’s also where most of the pisco grapes come. Moreover, it has nearly ideal conditions for viewing the skies and is home to a variety of scientific and touristic astronomy observatories. Furthermore, this one will last a whole four minutes and 33 seconds, about twice the length of the recent eclipse up north.
However the 2019 is not the only one to bless Chilean skies. Another eclipse in Chile will occur over in the south of the country on December 14th, 2020. Some reports are calling this “Patagonia” but here in Chile this would be considered the “Lake’s Region” or southern “Araucaria”, not far from the adventure tourism destination of Pucon. It will also be visible from the Argentinian side of the Andes.
The timing really could not be better for an eclipse in Chile. Chile’s travel industry, government and science sector has been developing an “astro-tourism” approach over the last couple of years. Much of this is focused in the Atacama. As the driest desert in the world with minimal cloud cover it is perfect for astronomy. In fact the world’s largest observatory, ALMA, is located just outside the tourism hub of San Pedro de Atacama. But other regions, like the Elqui Valley, are also great destinations for this very interesting niche.
So no need to despair if you missed it. Get set for the 2019 eclipse in Chile and come on down.