All You Need To Know About The July 2 Total Solar Eclipse

A total solar eclipse will be observed in South America on Tuesday, July 2. 

Unfortunately, only Chile, Argentina, and some islands in the Pacific Ocean such as Oeno Island, Tahiti, and Bora Bora will be able to experience the totality — the state of which the moon (or planet!) blocks the sun completely — first-hand. The totality’s track is mostly view-able in The Pacific Ocean. 

A partial solar eclipse can be observed in some locations in Ecuador, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay.

The moon will block the sun’s path for an approximate of four minutes and 33 seconds of totality. This is nearly twice as long as 2017’s solar eclipse.

The sun’s corona, an aura of plasma around it, will be in the color amber once the moon blocks it from the Earth’s view. This is possible because the totality happens within an hour-and-a-half before the sun sets. The sun’s corona is only visible without special equipment during a total solar eclipse.

Viewers from Chile is expected to have the most beautiful view due to less light pollution. The darker the skies, the better to see the sun’s corona. 

The last total solar eclipse happened on August 21, 2017. Back then, North America had a front seat view of the eclipse with its coast-to-coast track from Oregon to South Carolina. The total amount of time for its totality was two minutes and 40 seconds.

Though first-hand viewing is limited, different observatories such as the Cerro Tololo Observatory and La Silla Observatory, both in Chile, will have a live webcast of the eclipse.

Difficulties in Viewing 

Unlike the 2017 solar eclipse, astronomers (and eclipse chasers) are expecting difficulties with viewing the eclipse. 

Aside from the limited land masses that fall directly on the eclipse’s path, obstacles such as weather conditions are highly plausible and could restrict the view of the eclipse. It’s winter season in the Southern Hemisphere, and there may be an overcast with high cloud coverage. 

Another cause for overcast weather is the timing of the eclipse. The eclipse is expected to happen at 4:38 PM (EST). The totality occurs one hour and 18 minutes before sunset, which means the sun’s angle is only 13 degrees above the northwest horizon. It is likely that even clouds, not directly above Chile, Argentina, and the Pacific Ocean islands, can block the view.

Viewers near the coast are also going to experience difficulties. Once the shadow of the moon casts on Earth, light and temperatures drop, which results in the ground cooling faster than air, causes ocean stratus clouds to form faster and may obstruct the view. 

Importance of solar eclipses

Solar eclipses are a beautiful sight to behold. But beyond its fantastic view, scientists grab the opportunity to study the sun and space. 

There are two kinds of solar eclipses: annular and total. Annular eclipses are when the moon partially blocks the sun. These types of eclipses happen when the moon’s position is too far from the Earth. 

The total solar eclipse, on the other hand, is the complete blocking of the moon of the sun. During a total solar eclipse, we can only see a reddish band of light in the sun’s edges, and white wisps called the limb and corona, respectively.

During total solar eclipses, scientists get a chance to study the sun’s corona. The corona or the sun’s atmosphere is where solar weather and solar winds are prominent. Solar weather, or rather solar flares, emit charged particles and light that disrupts Earth’s satellites. Studying the sun’s properties during a total solar eclipse gives scientists a chance to improve upon our atmospheric equipment.

Scientists also want to find out is why the sun’s corona is hotter than its surface. According to National Geographic, the sun’s surface is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, but its atmosphere is 3.5 million degrees Fahrenheit. In 2018, NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe that took videos and pictures of the sun’s surface. It is the first mission to the sun. 

Solar and lunar eclipses are well-documented with scientists accurately predicting the phenomena until the year 3000. 2019 is packed with six eclipses including January 6’s partial solar eclipse and January 21’s total lunar eclipse, also known as Super Blood Wolf Moon. 

Eclipses also happen when Mercury or Venus appears to cross the sun. On November 11, Mercury Transit will be observed from North and South America. This year’s Mercury Transit will be the last one until 2032. 

A partial lunar eclipse will happen on July 16 and an annular solar eclipse will be seen on December 26.

The next total solar eclipse will be on December 14, 2020. It will, again, be visible from Chile and Argentina. 

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