Totally Taken By Yesterday’s Total Eclipse — Quick Report And Images

The diamond-ring effect blazes a moment after total eclipse end when the first bit of sunlight streams between mountains along the edge of the moon. Image from the video feed at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile taken July 2, 2019. Exploratorium / NSF

I was surprised at how moved I was watching yesterday’s total solar eclipse online. I checked into the Exploratorium and ESO feeds for nearly the entire eclipse. When everyone cheered at totality I got all choked up. A friend in Buenos Aires, where it was unfortunately cloudy except for a brief minute, sent regular photo updates. For here, the situation looked dire until the final seconds when she saw the bottom half of the totally eclipsed sun poke out just minutes before sunset. Another friend had better weather and posted many nice phone images of the moon crossing the sun until the time of totality. Thank you all!

View of the total solar eclipse from San Luis, Argentina taken with a cell phone by Eduardo Jawerbaum

Where the sky was clear observers reported spectacular sightings of Bailey’s Beads — kernels of sunlight streaming between mountains in profile along the moon’s edge that were visible immediately before and after totality. The corona, with two broad “wings” extending from either side of the sun, glowed from within a softer disk of light. Here’s the best photo I’ve come across that captures the soul-stirring beauty of the event. It was taken by renowned astrophotographer Thierry Legault from the shore of the lake La Cuesta Del Viento with the Andes Mts. in the background near Rodeo, Argentina.

A little smile from the sun. A momentarily glimpse of totality at the bottom of the cloud deck minutes before sunset from Buenos Aires. Piqui Díaz

I also like Piqui Díaz’s mobile phone shot taken after hours staring hopelessly at a wall of clouds in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Diaz helped others make eclipse-viewing devices and shared solar eclipse glasses while standing the ready with her mobile phone. In the end, she succeeded in seeing the eclipsed sun at the last possible moment, writing in an e-mail:

“Everyone hugged me. We saw a little bit at just the end, but it was enough. Amazing. Beautiful. We also froze.”

A beautiful pink prominence appears along the sun’s edge during totality. Prominences are flames made of hydrogen that are kept afloat by solar magnetic fields. They’re invisible to the eye  — lost in the solar glare — except when the moon hides the sun during a total eclipse. NSF / Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory

Yes, froze. Not only is it winter in Buenos Aires but the moon gradually covered the sun as it slid toward sunset, accelerating the temperature decline. Many observers reported a steep temperature drop as the opaque moon filtered the sun’s light and heat for some two hours.

“I tried to capture the mood of the phenomenon without focusing too much on the sun,” wrote astrophotographer Yuri Beletsky. I think he succeeded! The photo, taken with the diamond-ring effect underway, was shot in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Yuri Beletsky

Enjoy the images and may they motivate you to travel to see the next eclipse. For assistance in that department, check out this list of all upcoming solar eclipses through the year 3000. That should tide you over.

3 Responses

  1. Edward M

    I joked like Bugs Bunny that I took a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Instead of South America, I too watched on line from South Dakota. Small screen on my phone, I clearly heard in English, filters off, then a few moments later, filters on. Those few minutes again like in 17 seemed to last just seconds. The diamond ring blazed brightly on my phone. Then I went out with my dark glassses faking the eclipse. I then looked directly at the Sun for a few seconds, and the appearing green circle on my no. 16 glasses appeared to have several dark patches

  2. Edward M Boll

    The 2017 totality was on my brothers birthday. The July 2 one this year was on my second sons birthday, and the annular this year will be on my daughters birthday.
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