• Stephen Strum

The July 2019 Total Solar Eclipse from Space

Updated: Jul 4, 2019

On July 2, 2019, a total solar eclipse was seen across portions of the southern Pacific Ocean as well as a narrow swath of Chile and Argentina. The band of totality passed north of Santiago, Chile, and just across the southern side of Buenos Aires, Argentina. However, just south of Buenos Aires totality was reached right at sunset, with areas farther east missing out on totality as the sun set before totality was reached. The shadow of the moon basically lifted off the surface of the Earth at that point.

Numerous satellites were able to observe the shadow of the moon passing across the surface of the Earth, including the GOES weather satellites. The image below shows the shadow of the moon approaching South America from the west as nightfall approaches South America from the east. You can view an animation of this imagery at the bottom of the blot post.

The moon's shadow during the July 2019 total solar eclipse as seen from GOES 16

While watching the shadow of the moon race across the surface of the earth on the GOES 16 data is amazing, here is an even more interesting image. The image below is from the LilacSat currently in orbit around the moon. This is actually a shot of the moon's shadow passing over the Earth from the moon!

July 2019 total solar eclipse as viewed from the lilacsat that is in orbit around the moon

North America won't have to wait too much longer to see another total eclipse, with the next one coming up 2024. While it won't track from coast-to-coast, it will still track across a large swath of the US, from Texas up towards southeastern Canada. Additionally, the 2024 eclipse will feature a moon that is slightly closer to Earth than during the 2017 eclipse, so areas that do see a total eclipse will see a longer and darker one than the one seen in 2017. Totality will last over four minutes in places, compared to just over two minutes during the 2017 eclipse and this most recent 2019 eclipse. Additionally, portions of the US will see an annular eclipse in 2023. Portions of Texas will see both the annular eclipse in 2023 and the total eclipse in 2024. If you are interested in getting ready for the 2024 eclipse, the following book is a good place to start.

The video below shows satellite loops from GOES 16 during the July 2019 total solar eclipse. You can watch the shadow of the moon race across the surface of the earth and elongate right before it lifts off the earth as sunset moves in on South America. Hurricane Barbara can also be seen spinning in the Pacific about halfway between Hawaii and Mexico.

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