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LA HIGUERA, CHILE — A spectacular total solar eclipse passed through South America today (July 2), thrilling thousands of eager spectators in the path of totality while millions of others enjoyed a partial solar eclipse throughout the continent.
Today's solar eclipse was the first to grace our planet since the Great American Total Solar Eclipse, which crossed the continental United States on Aug. 21, 2017. While both of these were coast-to-coast eclipses, the path of totality for today's eclipse covered a much shorter stretch of land, beginning near La Serena, Chile, and ending just south of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Locals - Tourists - Eclipse - Chasers - Line
Locals, tourists and "eclipse chasers" flocked to the line of totality today to catch up to 2.5 minutes in which the moon completely blocked out the sun. As the moon cast its shadow on Earth, daytime temporarily turned into twilight, creating the illusion of a 360-degree sunset in places along the line of totality. The moon's shadow painted the skies with deep shades of purple and orange, and the darkness caused temperatures to drop by several degrees in the already-chilly region.
Space.com reporter Hanneke Weitering was on the scene at La Silla Observatory in Chile to capture this view of totality during the solar eclipse that occurred on July 2, 2019.
Totality - Landfall - South - America - City
Totality made its first landfall over South America near the city of La Serena, Chile, at 4:39 p.m. EDT (2039 GMT), about 1 hour and 17 minutes after the partial phase began there. But the eclipse itself actually started a few hours earlier over the Pacific Ocean.
The partial phase first became visible over the South Pacific at 12:55 p.m. EDT (1655 GMT), but it didn't have much of an audience — aside from any marine life, boats, airplanes or "eclipse chasers" who traveled to any of the remote islands in its...
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