Total solar eclipse Chile 2019
Total solar eclipse Chile: On July 2nd2019, our own aurora guide Adrien Mauduit attended one of the world’s most eerie and beautiful shows. Adrien shares his experience and adventure during the total eclipse from Chile.
Five, four, three, two, one… Wohaaaaa! Such sounds resonated in the usually quiet Chilean mountains surrounding La Serena on July 2nd, 2019 at 16:38:28 local time. The moon had already started eating up the Sun for about an hour before and as we approached the ultimate moment everyone is waiting for, a weird dimming of the light and gust of wind engulfed the landscape. All of a sudden, darkness came out of nowhere, plunging the surrounding area in a twilight darkness and leaving a ghostly black ball in the sky. It was totality and I had precisely 2,33 minutes to try and capture it while enjoying it as well.
I had planned this trip and moment for a long time. Chile offers some very good atmospheric conditions for the eclipse, especially if you drive up in the Andean mountains. The weather west (Chilean coast) and east of the Andes in Argentina is a bit more uncertain because of clouds at this time of year. In both countries, the eclipse was visible in the afternoon. Together with another amazing astrophotographer, we decided to try our luck far from the city into the eastern mountains. That view point was absolutely breathtaking, even without an eclipse! We had a 360 view over a Mars-like landscape, and not a cloud to be seen for a day. We camped there the night before the eclipse to secure the spot.
The day of the eclipse started beautifully. Still not an once of mist in the air, which was extremely dry and pristine. We patiently waited several hours under the course of the Sun in the sky while getting prepared with the gear. I had planned well in advance three sequences I wanted to take. First a timelapse at 35mm with the landscape to get the full extent of the eclipse. The second one was a traditional telephoto shot to get nice detail during totality (and also film it in real –time). Thirdly, I decided to attempt a very tricky shoot at 85mm that would require a lot of work and focus. However an hour before the eclipse started, one of my cameras fell on the hard rocks and my telephoto lens broke, annihilating all my long focal length plans. I had to change lenses (shorter focal length instead) and decided to take a series of shot, which I stacked (front cover). During totality, I was so caught up in that challenging shot that I actually completely ruined it. However I still enjoyed the eclipse with my own eyes, which is the most important. The time-lapse did turn great as well and ran by itself. One of the shots can be seen here:
What an experience totality was. It is indescribable. It also cannot be perfectly captured on any camera. Right at totality, just seeing this black ball strewn with glowing white dendrites all around is out of this world. The fact the landscape looks so barren also added to this otherworldly experienced. If you have never seen a solar eclipse with your own eyes, I strongly recommend you do at least once in your life! The darkness surrounded us for a short 2:33 minutes. I could not believe it was already over when the first rays of Sun reappeared below the black disc. You could also follow the shadow of the moon move all around! However the most stunning to me was to be able to see sunset/sunrise in all directions!
Make sure to check out NASA top 5 images of deep space