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Solar Eclipse Chile 2019 + Bolivia Altiplano

After the solar eclipse 25 years ago on the altiplano of Bolivia we decided, to travel again to this in every respect extreme landscape and to visit also those nature wonders, that we missed back then due to the ramshackle Hanomag.

We observed the solar eclipse at the Valle de Elqui above Vicuna on a 1,300 m high hill with a panoramic view of the valley and a unique mountain scenery. There was lonleyness at our place, whereas at the lowerly located observatory of Mamaluca, at the valley side and in Vicuna there camped tens of thousands other solar eclipse chasers. One could feel a relaxed party atmosphere all-over during the "Fiesta de Eclipse". On the other side of the valley towered the large observatories of Cerro Tololo (picture taken with the smartphone through the eyepiece of the the travel Dobson) and Gemini South. It was completely clear - deep blue high in the sky and some haze towards the horizon.

Total phase of the solar eclipse. Single shot out of an HD- video with Samsung S7 smartphone

I found the visual impression in the Travel Dobsonian particularly impressive: This finely resolved hairy beams of the minimum corona as well as the appearance of the diamond ring the first 2 seconds after the end of the total phase, whose blazing light forces you to shy away from the eyepiece and turn the telescope to the side. The 10x50 binoculars showed the corona in much less detail, impressed instead with a magnificent wide filed view with the black sun in the centre. I found some time to lay back and just enjoy the 360° twilight scenery with the unaided eye with this strange-looking black hole in the sky.

Canon 5DSR + Canon EF 100-400 at 400 mm f/6.3 1/3s 100 ASA

We followed the waning eclipse until the partially eclipsed sun set behind the mountains and stayed until late in the evening on our hill, as the road to Vicuna was blocked by the excessive traffic anyway. Later we heard, that the traffic jam extended almost all the way to Santiago.

Southern milky way with Jupiter at the above left and the Magellanic Clouds over the Valle Elqui
Olympus E-M10 Mark III + Olympus Fish Eye 8 mm at f/1.8. Stack of 20x15s at 800 ASA. Sequator+ RawTherapee

After the eclipse event we travelled to the Altiplano of Chile / Bolivia up to a maximum elevation of 4,900 m (16,000 feet), (Valle de la Luna, El Tatio Geysers, Laguna Miscanti, Laguna Blanca, Laguna Verde, Laguna Colorada, Salar Uyuni...). We took our time to acclimatize at San Pedro de Atacama at 2,400 m (7,800 feet) elevation, so none of us became altitude sick, while some other tourists walked around like mummies.

During the nights the Quint showed spectacular views at the eyepiece under the bright milky way, while the Canon 5DSR camera + 50 mm lens pointed towards the Coalsack and Carina as well as the Magellanic Clouds.

The Quintuplet on the Salar Uyuni at -9°C in front of the setting milky way and the Magellanic Clouds
Olympus E-M10 Mark III + Olympus Fish Eye 8 mm at f/1.8. Stack of 10x20s at 1,600 ASA. Sequator+ RawTherapee

Observing on the Salar Uyuni in front of the rising Orion. To the left the zodiacal light through the Pleiades and Hyades, to the right the Magellanic Clouds
Olympus E-M10 Mark III + Olympus Fish Eye 8 mm at f/1.8 + Cokin P830 diffusion Filter. Single shot 20s at 1,600 ASA. RawTherapee

The Quint at the shore of the Salar Uyuni at -8°C in front of the center of the milky way with Jupiter and the head over setting Scorpion.
Olympus E-M10 Mark III + Olympus 12 mm at f/2 + Cokin P830 diffusion Filter. Stack of 10x15s at 800 ASA. Sequator+ RawTherapee
Version without filter and with the Magellanic Clouds.

Center of the milky way above the Salar Uyuni.
Canon 5DSR + 50 mm f/1.4. Stack of 7x1 min at 800 ASA. Tracking with Star Adventurer. Sequator+ RawTherapee

El Tatio Geysers at beginning dawn, illuminated from car lights.
Olympus E-M10 Mark III + Olympus Fish Eye 8 mm at f/1.8. 20s bei 1,600 ASA.
Picture with Canon 5DSR
Picture after sunrise
Volcanoes on the way from El Tatio. From there one can see the 5,900 m (19,300 ft) high active volcano Ollagüe.

Valle de la Luna and Valle del Martes near San Pedro de Atacama. At the horizon rises the textbook volcano Licancabur

Laguna Miscanti at 4,140 m (13,600 ft) elevation, Chile. Other perspective.

Laguna Blanca at 4,350 m (14,300 ft) elevation, Altiplano Bolivia

Laguna Colorada at 4,300 m elevation, Altiplano Bolivia with Flamingos. Next to it is located the Laguna Verde with the volcano Licancabur and sulfur smelling hot springs.

Árbol de Piedra, rock sculptures at almost 4,600 m elevation, Altiplano Bolivia

The Salar Uyuni at 3,700 m (12,000 ft) elevation is the largest, highest and surely one of the most exotic places on our planet. In the middle of the salt lake there is the island Incahuas, which hosts gigantic cacti. At another spot you can find reflecting water surfaces, or gushing springs. At the northern rim it rises the 5,300 m high Volcano Tunupa.

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