A total solar eclipse will be passing over the Araucanía region of Chile on December 14, 2020. Known to be the cradle of the Mapuche culture, where the observation of the stars and their influence on daily life gave birth to a rich cosmogony, this is a perfect place for an eclipse to happen. Additionally, the Geminids Meteor Shower will be happening the same night, which means you’ll be able to see an eclipse during the day and a meteor shower at night! On this page, you will find everything you need to know about the 2020 Solar Eclipse in Chile, and links to travel packages run by local guides.
A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes in between the Earth and the sun and its shadow blocks all direct sunlight. Eclipses happen about every 18 months, although over different parts of the earth each time. Eclipses only happen in the same place again after about 350-400 years! This might be your last chance until 2024 in the USA, to see this incredibly rare natural occurrence as for the next few years the path of totality will fall over remote locations.
The 2020 eclipse will pass mostly over the South Pacific ocean until it heads directly over Chile and Argentina, ending just west of Namibia. The Araucanía region of Chile will have some of the best possible land-based views of the eclipse.
The total solar eclipse doesn’t hang around for long, in fact, only for a maximum of 2 minutes 8 seconds so getting as close to the center line of totality is extremely important. We would recommend checking out this site so that you can fully visualize the locations and the best viewing spots. The line of totality runs through the Araucania region (Chile’s lake district).Following is a chart of the towns that will experience totality, and the duration of totality in that location:
All of the tour packages above will place you in the path of totality during the eclipse!
Cosmogony is an integral part of the Mapuche people’s worldview, origins, and everyday life. Observing the sky is a critical part of their culture and spirituality. A solar eclipse is called in Mapudungun Lai antu or Lan antu, which means “the death of the Sun.” The sun is intimately connected with the perception of time, and the death of the sun means that time stands still, creating a change in the astral cycle. This change is anticipated and met with profound respect. Traditionally, eclipses were feared, as they were meant to signal the imminence of a negative event. In 2020, it is viewed as a cause for celebration and respectful reverence. We are working with several Mapuche guides whose families and ancestors are from Araucanía and Los Ríos and they are excited to share their culture and celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime event with international travelers!
The overall weather shows promising signs of a clear sky on December 14. That said, it would not be unusual for the region to be cloudy at that time of year, so, like with all eclipses, it’s best to hope for clear skies, but prepare for clouds. December is the start of Chile’s summer, so across the country you can expect glorious sunshine and average daytime temperatures of 25 C (77 F). The further south you travel the cooler you can expect it to get, Pucón’s temperature high is 22 C for December. Your suitcase, when packing for a trip to Chile, will be filled with a wide range of clothing; we recommend bringing multiple thin layers as it wouldn’t be a complete visit to Chile without hiking up a few mountains or maybe even an active volcano. The incomparable landscape of a country home to golden beaches, immense mountain ranges, sublime lakes and so much more, makes it a one of a kind opportunity to experience a rare astronomical occurrence, atop an active volcano.
The Geminids are a breathtaking meteor shower that will be visible from December 4 to December 17, peaking between the 14-15. Meteors are fragments of debris that enter our atmosphere from outer space travelling at rates of 70km per second, vaporizing and then causing beams of light we have nicknamed ‘shooting stars’. Some meteors contain traces of metals, such as sodium and calcium, giving them a colorful hue, some even red or green.
Being in the Chilean Lake District will mean you are perfectly situated to watch the magnificent shooting star show, well away from light pollution in stunning open spaces.
This means you can see an eclipse during the day and a shooting star show at night!
For stargazing newbies and experienced astronomers alike, the occasion to see the solar eclipse 2020 is a one of a kind experience, so to do it right, you’ll need the correct equipment. For the newbies, it’s a much simpler process, just make sure you’ve got your pair of solar viewing glasses to filter out damaging radiation, and you can go ahead and watch the sun become a mere shadow.
When travelling with expensive and bulky astronomical equipment, we recommend using hard cases and using ‘pluck cube’ foam which you can cut to fit around any item. If you can’t find this magical foam, blanket and thick fleeces are the answer. Tripods are usually too large to be able to carried as hand luggage so we would suggest using a golf bag to carry it in, as these are designed specifically so golf clubs won’t get damaged when being moved around in the hold. If you need any specific batteries, we would recommend buying them once you have arrived in Chile, as there are many international flight restrictions on alkaline battery packs. We would always urge you to contact your airline before arriving at the airport, to double check their restrictions and their own recommendations for travelling with specialized kit.
If you have any queries regarding bringing your equipment on one of our tours, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org; our tour operators are experienced astronomers, so will be able to accommodate and help you with the safe transportation of your equipment.
The closest airport to the best viewing spots is: Aeropuerto Internacional La Araucanía in Temuco, airport code ZCO. After your flight, it will about a 1.5 hour transfer into Pucon. For bus timetables check out these websites here and here; from these websites you can see how to get from the central tourist spots (Pucon and Temuco) to Icalma where all of our tours depart from. Buses leave from Temuco everyday from Terminal Rural.
If you’re planning to travel by bus from other Chile traveler hotspots, the closest bus stations in the Araucanía region are the following:
In Los Ríos Region, the closest bus stations are the following:
As soon as possible! Solar Eclipses attract hundreds of thousands of international travelers, and some hotels and tour operators are already fully booked. Above, you can find links to book multi-day tours that include lodging, or a day tour that takes you to a perfect spot for Eclipse viewing.
Yes! At Keteka, we’re working closely with our local guides and tour operators to offer both group tours and custom tours. If you’re unsure of what to do before or after the solar eclipse, we would be happy to help customize a solar eclipse package for you. Please email us at email@example.com if you would like a custom solar eclipse tour.
Chile is the astrotourism capital of the world so you should definitely make the most of what the country has to offer in pristine and cloudless skies. Check out our blog post to find out more: Chile Stargazing