Solar Eclipse 2019

On Tuesday, July 2, 2019, the Moon will pass in front of the Sun, casting its shadow across South America and the southern Pacific Ocean.

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2019 Eclipse Path

  • 2019 Total Solar Eclipse
    2019.04.30
    On Tuesday, July 2, 2019, the Moon will pass in front of the Sun, casting its shadow across South America and the southern Pacific Ocean. The Moon's shadow can be divided into areas called the umbra and the penumbra. Within the penumbra, the Sun is only partially blocked, and observers experience a partial eclipse. The much smaller umbra lies at the very center of the shadow cone, and anyone there sees the Moon entirely cover the Sun in a total solar eclipse. In the animation, the umbra is the small black oval. The red streak behind this oval is the path of totality. Anyone within this path will see a total eclipse when the umbra passes over them. The much larger shaded bullseye pattern represents the penumbra. Steps in the shading denote different percentages of Sun coverage (obscuration), at levels of 90%, 75%, 50% and 25%. The images of the Sun show its appearance at a number of locations during the eclipse, each oriented to the local horizon. The numbers in the lower left corner give the latitude and longitude of the center of the umbra as it moves eastward, along with the altitude of the Sun above the horizon at that point. Also shown is the duration of totality: for anyone standing at the center point, this is how long the total solar eclipse will last.

    About Accuracy

    You might think that calculating the circumstances of an eclipse would be, if not easy, then at least precise. If you do the math correctly, you’d expect to get exactly the same answers as everyone else. But the universe is more subtle than that. The Earth is neither smooth nor perfectly spherical, nor does it rotate at a perfectly constant, predictable speed. The Moon isn’t smooth, either, which means that the shadow it casts isn’t a simple circle. And our knowledge of the size of the Sun is uncertain by a factor of about 0.2%, enough to affect the duration of totality by several seconds. Everyone who performs these calculations will make certain choices to simplify the math or to precisely define an imperfectly known number. The choices often depend on the goals and the computing resources of the calculator, and as you'd expect, the results will differ slightly. You can get quite good results with a relatively simple approach, but it sometimes takes an enormous effort to get only slightly better answers. The following table lists some of the constants and data used for this animation.
    Earth radius6378.137 km
    Earth flattening1 / 298.257 (the WGS 84 ellipsoid)
    Moon radius1737.4 km (k = 0.2723993)
    Sun radius696,000 km (959.634 arcsec at 1 AU)
    EphemerisDE 421
    Earth orientationSOFA library iauC2t06a()
    Delta UTC69.184 seconds (TT – TAI + 37 leap seconds)
    ΔT69.368 seconds
    A number of sources explain Bessel’s method of solar eclipse calculation, including chapter 9 of Astronomy on the Personal Computer by Oliver Montenbruck and Thomas Pflager and the eclipses chapter of The Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac. The method was adapted to the routines available in NAIF's SPICE software library. See this SVS page for a larger scale map of the eclipse path over South America that takes into account the lunar limb, Earth elevations, and other details that have been ignored here.
  • 2019 Path of Totality
    2019.04.30
    During the July 2, 2019 total solar eclipse, the Moon's umbral shadow will scud across South America, through Chile and Argentina, in just 7 minutes before sliding off the Earth's surface as both the Sun and Moon set. The path of this shadow, the path of totality, is where observers will see the Moon completely cover the Sun for about two and a half minutes. This animation shows the umbra and its path in a unique way. Elevations on the Earth's surface and the irregular lunar limb (the silhouette edge of the Moon's disk) are both fully accounted for, and they both have dramatic and surprising effects on the shape of the umbra and the location of the path. The umbra becomes a polygon with edges that are ruffled by the high elevations of the Andes. To read more about these effects, go here. The animation provides an overhead view of the umbra and runs at a rate of 30× real time — every minute of the eclipse takes two seconds in the animation.
    Earth radius6378.137 km
    EllipsoidWGS84
    GeoidEGM96
    ElevationsSRTM 3 arcsec DEM
    Moon radius1737.4 km
    Sun radius696,000 km (959.645 arcsec at 1 AU)
    EphemerisDE 421
    Earth orientationSOFA library iauC2t06a()
    Delta UTC69.184 seconds (TT – TAI + 37 leap seconds)
    ΔT69.368 seconds
  • 2019 Total Solar Eclipse Maps and Shapefiles
    2019.04.30
    This map of Chile and Argentina shows the path of the Moon's umbral shadow — the path of totality — during the total solar eclipse on July 2, 2019. Features include national boundaries, major roads, and place names. The umbra is shown at 3-minute intervals labeled in the local time zone of the umbra center (Chile or Argentina standard time). To read about the reason the shapes aren't smooth ovals, go here. At 300 DPI, the scale of the map is approximately 1:4,000,000. The map uses a number of NASA data products. The land color is based on Blue Marble Next Generation, a global mosaic of MODIS images assembled by NASA's Earth Observatory. Elevations are from SRTM, a radar instrument flown on Space Shuttle Endeavour during the STS-99 mission. Lunar topography, used for precise shadow calculations, is from NASA LRO laser altimetry and JAXA Kaguya stereo imaging. Planetary positions are from the JPL DE421 ephemeris. The lunar limb profile and eclipse calculations are by the visualizer. The map below shows the global extent of the shadow path. The umbra is drawn at 10-minute intervals.

    Shapefiles

    The map was rendered in animation software, but maps are more typically created using geographic information system (GIS) tools and vector datasets. A set of shapefiles describing the umbra and penumbra extents is provided below in two Zip archives, one for small-scale (global) maps and the other for larger-scale mapping. eclipse2019_shapefiles.zip contains the following shapefiles: penum19 contains the contours for maximum obscuration at 5-percent intervals from 95% to 5%, and the penumbra edge at 0%. w_upath19 contains the complete path of totality. w_umbra19_1m contains umbra shapes at 1-minute intervals from 18:02 to 20:44 UTC, covering the complete timespan of totality. w_center19 contains the complete center line. The projection for all of these shapefiles is WGS84, latitude-longitude, in degrees. A minimal .PRJ file reflecting this projection is included for each shape. eclipse2019_shapefiles_1s.zip is intended for larger-scale (higher resolution) mapping. It contains the following shapefiles: umbra19_1s contains 560 umbra shapes at one-second intervals from 20:35:30 to 20:44:49 UTC. These are high-resolution shapes with roughly 100-meter precision. The attributes for each shape include both a string representation of the UTC time and an integer containing the number of seconds past midnight of eclipse day. upath19 contains the path of totality, limited to the extent of the 560 umbra shapes. Both the path and the umbra shapes are truncated at 75°W. center19 contains the center line as a polyline with points at one-second intervals.

How to watch

  • How to View the Solar Eclipse with a Pinhole Projector
    2017.06.21
    You don't necessarily need fancy equipment to watch one of the sky's most awesome shows: a solar eclipse. With just a few simple supplies, you can make a pinhole camera that allows you to view the event safely and easily. Before you get started, remember: You should never look at the sun directly without equipment that's specifically designed for solar viewing. Do not use standard binoculars or telescopes to watch the eclipse, as the light could severely damage your eyes. Sunglasses also do NOT count as protection when attempting to look directly at the sun. Stay safe and still enjoy the sun's stellar shows by creating your very own pinhole camera. It's easy! See another pinhole camera tutorial at https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/learn/project/how-to-make-a-pinhole-camera/ A pinhole camera is just one of many viewing options. Learn more at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety Find more videos about the solar ecilpse on the Sun Eclipse 2017 gallery page.
  • How to Safely Watch a Solar Eclipse
    2017.06.21
    It is never safe to look directly at the sun's rays – even if the sun is partly obscured. When watching a partial eclipse you must wear eclipse glasses at all times if you want to face the sun, or use an alternate indirect method. This also applies during a total eclipse up until the time when the sun is completely and totally blocked.

    During the short time when the moon completely obscures the sun – known as the period of totality – it is safe to look directly at the star, but it's crucial that you know when to take off and put back on your glasses.

    First and foremost: Check for local information on timing of when the total eclipse will begin and end. NASA's page of eclipse times is a good place to start.

    Second: The sun also provides important clues for when totality is about to start and end.

    Learn more at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov

    Find more videos about the solar ecilpse on the Sun Eclipse 2017 gallery page.

  • Watching the Friendly Skies - Eclipse Safety Tutorial
    2017.06.21
    Get ready to view the solar eclipse with these helpful safety tips. No one should ever look directly at the sun, even during an eclipse. Many options for indirect viewing are outlined in this video. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon blocks any part of the sun. On Monday, August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible (weather permitting) across all of North America. The whole continent will experience a partial eclipse lasting 2 to 3 hours. Halfway through the event, anyone within a roughly 70-mile-wide path from Oregon to South Carolina will experience a brief total eclipse, when the moon completely blocks the sun’s bright face for up to 2 minutes 40 seconds, turning day into night and making visible the otherwise hidden solar corona — the sun’s outer atmosphere — one of nature’s most awesome sights. Bright stars and planets will become visible as well. Learn more at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov Find more videos about the solar ecilpse on the Sun Eclipse 2017 Gallery page.

Learn about eclipses

  • What determines when we have an eclipse?
    2017.06.14
    Why are eclipses rare? The moon's orbit is tilted. Sometimes the moon's shadow is too high above the Earth. Sometimes it is too low. Other times, it is just right.

  • A Total Solar Eclipse Revealed Solar Storms 100 Years Before Satellites
    2017.08.17
    Eclipses set the stage for historic science. NASA is taking advantage of the Aug. 21, 2017 eclipse by funding 11 ground-based scientific studies. As our scientists prepare their experiments for next week, we're looking back to an historic 1860 total solar eclipse, which many think gave humanity our first glimpse of solar storms — called coronal mass ejections — 100 years before scientists first understood what they were.

    Scientists observed these eruptions in the 1970s during the beginning of the modern satellite era, when satellites in space were able to capture thousands of images of solar activity that had never been seen before. But in hindsight, scientists realized their satellite images might not be the first record of these solar storms. Hand-drawn records of an 1860 total solar eclipse bore surprising resemblance to these groundbreaking satellite images.

    Eclipse archive imagery from: http://mlso.hao.ucar.edu/hao-eclipse-archive.php