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The great solar eclipse of July 2, 2019

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 24 jun 2019, 12:02 por Plataforma Sites Dgac   [ actualizado el 24 ago 2020, 11:21 ]
No doubt, the most important astronomical phenomenon that has taken place this year was the total solar eclipse of July 2 and that was observed in its plenitude in the Coquimbo and Atacama Regions.
For almost two minutes, the Moon projected its shadow over our planet.

In Chile, the best place to watch the eclipse covered a strip 145 kilometers wide.

How will the next solar eclipse be seen from Chile?
The astronomical event covered a strip of 145 kilometers wide and was observed from the Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand, and crossing South America in a diagonal way, from West to East.

In Chile, it could be seen in plenitude at the Coquimbo and Atacama Regions, covering the whole Sun for about 1 minute and 52 seconds.

A solar eclipse takes place when the Moon crosses the path of the sunlight and projects a shadow over the surface of our planet.
When there’s a total eclipse, the Moon —which is smaller than the Sun— covers momentarily the solar disc because of its distance and its orbital plane. Its shadow is projected over the Earth and covers a strip of a little more than one hundred kilometers wide.

The inhabitants of the aforementioned area watched one of the most spectacular natural phenomena that take place each 14 months, on average. 

According to astronomers, one of these solar eclipses can be seen in the same place once each 375 years.
Astronomical observatories

Many would wonder why are these phenomena so important to Chile. The answer is that for the first time in history, some of the most important astronomical observatories in the world were located in the strip where the Moon’s shadow is projected and the landscape goes completely dark.

We are talking about La Silla, Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachón observatories, where sophisticated and modern telescopes and watching instruments studied the eclipse during all its phases. It was also seen from Las Campanas observatory, but partially.

Eclipse and animal behavior

Besides being an extraordinary opportunity for the astronomers to study the Sun, the conditions were given for other studies by many scientists from different disciplines.

For instance, weather scientists could verify the temperature changes and the strength and direction of the wind while the phenomenon was taking place.

For the researchers of animal behavior, the darkness brought about by the eclipse allowed to analyze if the biological clock is synchronized, so to speak, with the Sun’s movement.

The daytime birds shrieked and returned to their nests, while the night animals began to wake up.
The next solar total eclipse will take place in our country on December 20, 2020, and will be visible from La Araucanía Region.