What is this all about
This year the Sun brings us to Chile, but of course, not the default way of Sun bringing most people outside their houses and on to the beaches during their vacations. In fact, it will be the Chilean winter when we go, so hopefully the sunny and warm beaches will still wait for us when we return. Thankfully, Chile is such a long country that in most places the winter is not expected to be as harsh as it is back home, and the temperatures should keep in teens (Celsium).
Several years ago people were asking whether we are going to see the next total Solar eclipse as well. Nowadays the question is not anymore whether we are going to see it. This time it is, however – who is going. After the too big group of eclipse chasers last time in the US it was decided that we are returning to the well tested number of 8 travelers. But, how to pick the best ones if more than 8 want to come? Easy – they’d need to write an essay mentioning why they should be part of the team. And that is how it (almost) went. Besides Agnese the others who passed the test are Anders, Andra, Dace, Dora, Ilgonis, Imants and Juris. Dora is the only one who has not been on an eclipse trip before, but she has got some insider knowledge already from her brother who came with us to Indonesia in 2016. And as usual, you can find out about our other trips on the Homepage.
The Solar eclipse
The eclipse will happen on 2th of July and the totality (that’s when the Sun is fully covered by the Moon) will be observable in Chile and Argentina. The sun will be setting during the time of the eclipse, so to get most of it we are going to Chile instead of Argentina. The Chilean city of La Serena is on the path of totality, but so are some additional villages, and we plan to visit one of such. The totality of the eclipse in our location will start at 16:38 local time and finish at 16:41 and thus last for about 2.5 minutes in total.
To the right there is a map of the eclipse visibility. The light blue circle marks partial eclipse. The black dot in the centre marks total eclipse. The time in the animation is UTC.
For some more information go here:
- NASA eclipse website
- Interactive Google map with eclipse visibility times, length and coordinates.
Most of us will leave Riga on the morning of 20th June, spend most of the day in Milan, Italy and after that arrive in Santiago of Chile on the morning of 21st of June just in time for midsumm.. – whoops – midwinter or, in other words, the shortest day. As per this notion, everything can only get better after that ! Anders who spends 2 additional weeks traveling in Argentina before joining us will have reached Santiago the evening before and will be waiting for us there.
We will spend a couple of days in Santiago trying to visit the most interesting places, and then pick up rental cars and head south to Laguna del Laja national park and Pucon with the impressive volcano of Villarica laying next to it. If it won’t rain too much here, we should do some hiking to see 4 volcanoes from a top of a hill and warm up in hot springs later on.
On the way north we will stop at a winery for a tasting tour and try to spot some penguins on a small island in the ocean. We have an excursion booked in the well known La Silla observatory and after that hope to be able to rent a boat to see some penguins and other birds a bit closer. In preparation to observing the eclipse we will head to the Elqui valley to find out what pisco is as well as be amazed by the southern night sky. On the 2nd of July we’ll be happy if you’d keep fingers crossed for our visibility during the total solar eclipse!
After the eclipse we will continue north to see a few more towns, places, attractions and Pan De Azucar national park. East from Antofagasta lies a huge meteor impact crater called Monturaqui. There are no roads leading to it, but there is a track for servicing a high voltage line visible on google maps. We will check it out and if lucky, should be able to reach the crater as well. And if the luck will persist, there might be more than 2 of us able to visit the world famous Paranal observatory.
Some more places and towns before we return to Santiago, fly to Rome, Italy, spend a day there and arrive in Riga on the evening of 10th of July.