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Total Solar Eclipse July 11 2010

It was visible over much of the southern Pacific Ocean, touching several atolls in French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Easter Island, and Argentina's Patagonian plains.[2]

Fred Espenak, a NASA astrophysicist, said:

"One of the most unique things about this particular eclipse is that it crosses a unique and interesting archaeological site: Easter Island. On Easter Island there are these great statues... There's a lot of mystery about these statues, but in any case, this is the first total eclipse that's hit the island in about 1,400 years."

It ended at sunset over the southern tips of Argentina and Chile in South America, including the town of El Calafate. The Sun's altitude was only 1° during the 2 minute 47 second total phase, but Argentino Lake may offer an adequate line-of-sight to the eclipse hanging just above the rugged Andes skyline.

A 58% partiality occurred at sunset in Santiago, Chile, but it was not visible due to adverse weather conditions. In other cities such as Valparaíso and Coquimbo, clearer skies permitted the event to be witnessed in continental Chile.

Total eclipse began 700 kilometers (440 miles) southeast of Tonga at approximately 18:15 UTC and reached Easter Island by 20:11 UTC.The global sky photography project The World At Night stationed photographers throughout the eclipse's visibility track. Eclipse chasers photographed the event onboard a chartered airplane, cruise ships, numerous Pacific islands, and in Argentina's Patagonia region. Totality was observed for four minutes and 41 seconds (4:41) on Easter Island,where it was observed for the first time in 1,400 years. Approximately 4,000 observers visited Easter Island for this eclipse, prompting an increase in security at its important moai archeological sites. The eclipse occurred at the same time that the final game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup was being played in South Africa, and many soccer fans in Tahiti watched the match instead of observing the partial eclipse with a high percentage of obscuring the sun by about 98 percent.The path of totality of this eclipse barely missed some significant inhabited islands, including passing just about 20 km north of the northern end of Tahiti.

This eclipse was the first one to happen over French Polynesia in 350 years. An estimated 5,000 tourists visited various islands in the archipelago to observe the event. Nearly 120,000 pairs of special glasses were distributed for observers.Eclipse chasers were also able to observe the eclipse at El Calafate, near the southern tip of Argentina, before the sun set just two minutes later.

Several hours after the eclipse was observed in continental Chile, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck in the Antofagasta Region. There were no major injuries or damages in the nearby cities of Calama, Chile and San Pedro de Atacama.

Credits: Nasa and photo by MIR on 1999

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