The 1994 Eclipse:
Paths, Sky and Details

All diagrams © Fred Espenak

World Path

1994 Eclipse: World

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The Total Solar Eclipse of 3 November 1994. The dark blue region is the path of totality (also known as the umbra).

The umbra shadow travels from west to east (left to right on the map). At the point of greatest eclipse, totality is at local midday. The duration of totality at greatest eclipse is 4 minutes 23 seconds. This occurs in the South Atlantic Ocean. On either side of that point, the duration is less. To the West of greatest eclipse totality will occur before local noon; to the East, the eclipse will be total after local noon. The umbra is widest around the time of greatest eclipse as the surface of the Earth is bulging out towards the Moon in that region.

The blue circlular regions are the positions of the umbra at ten minute intervals. The umbra becomes more circular around the region of greatest eclipse because the angle between the surface of the Earth and the umbra becomes more perpendicular.

The area on either side of the path of totality (in pale blue) provides a partial eclipse, the magnitude decreasing with distance from the path of totality. No eclipse is visible outside the region marked in blue on the map.

The red regions are the areas where the eclipse occurs during sunrise (left) or sunset (right). The sub-solar point is the location where the Sun is overhead at the time of greatest eclipse. This point is well South of the equator during November.

The path of totality begins in the Pacific Ocean, and crosses South America. It then passes into the South Atlantic Ocean and ends in the Indian Ocean (south of Madagascar). The umbra takes 3 hours 11 minutes to traverse its entire path.


Path Across South America

1994 Eclipse: South America

The path of totality is the pair of dark lines in the centre, moving across South America from left to right.

In this part of the path the eclipse occurs before local noon. The path travels across the coast of Peru, the extreme north of Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, the extreme north of Argentina and southern Brazil. It takes about 50 minutes for the umbra to cross this land area.

The circlular regions are the positions of the umbra at ten minute intervals.


Path Across Chile

1994 Eclipse: Chile

The two outer black lines are the path of totality. The line in the middle is the centre line. For any part of the path of totality, the duration of totality is at its longest on this line. The circlular regions are the positions of the umbra at ten minute intervals.

The eclipse site was along the centre of the path of totality very close to Putre.


The Sky During Totality

1994 Eclipse: The Sky During Totality

This is the sky during totality close to our observation location.

The Sun is low as the eclipse was early in the morning. Venus and Jupiter were both visible.


Eclipse Details

Eclipse Details
Location Zapahuira, Lauca National Park, northern Chile
Latitude 18° 19' 53" S
Longitude 69° 35' 42" W
Altitude 3400m
Distance from Centre Line 17 km
1st Contact (UT - 3) 08:17
2nd Contact 09:18:35
3rd Contact 09:21:30
4th Contact 10:31
Duration 2m 55s
Path Width 173 km
Major Axis 286 km
Minor Axis 152 km
Umbral Velocity 1.4 km/s
Solar Altitude 32°
Solar Azimuth 97°
Position Angle: 2nd Contact 113°
Position Angle: 3rd Contact 291°
Saros Details 133 (44 / 72)
Gamma -0.35216
Diameter Ratio 1.046

The Location, Latitude, Longitude are for the observation site. They were originally determined by plotting the path details (using data from Fred Espenak) onto a good quality aeronautical map. The Altitude (in metres) was originally estimated from the same map. These figures were updated in 2009 after locating the area on Google Earth.

The Distance from Centre Line was also originally estimated using the map but was updated in 2009 from an interactive map provided by Fred Espenak.

First Contact is the beginning of the eclipse when the first "bite" appears on the Sun's disk; it is the beginning of the partial phase. Second Contact is the beginning of totality. Third Contact is the end of totality. Fourth Contact is the end of the partial eclipse. The times are in local time which, for this eclipse, is UT - 3 (GMT minus three hours).

The Duration of the eclipse at the observation site was just over 2 minutes 55 seconds.

The Path Width is the width of the path of totality. The umbra itself is elliptical in shape. The Major Axis is the longest axis of the umbra; the Minor Axis is the shorter axis. The umbra at the observation site was 286km long and 152km wide. This could be observed as a brighter horizon in two opposing directions along the minor axis. The path width was 173km, a reasonably large figure that produced a dark eclipse.

The Umbral Velocity is the speed of the Moon's shadow, 1.4 kilometres per second. This and its width determined the duration of the total eclipse.

The Sun's Altitude is measured from the horizon; the Azimuth is the direction of the Sun measured clockwise from North. The figures are for mid-eclipse. The Position Angles indicate the exact position of the Sun's disk where the Moon covers and uncovers the Sun at the beginning and end of totality.

The Saros is a collection of eclipses belonging to a series. Each member of the series is followed by a similar eclipse approximately 18 years, 11 days and 8 hours later. This eclipse is a member of Saros number 133. It is the 44th eclipse out of a total of 72 in the series.

Saros 133 began with a small partial eclipse in the Arctic on 13 July 1219. The series produced 12 partial eclipses over a period of 198 years. The 13th eclipse of this Saros (20 November 1435) was annular (as the Moon was too far from the Earth to cover the Sun completely). There were six annular eclipses until the 19th eclipse (24 January 1544) which was the only hybrid eclipse of the series (annular and total over section of its path).

The following 46 eclipses were all total and covered a period of 811 years. The first of these (the 20th of the series on 3 February 1562) had a duration of 0m 41s. The duration of the total eclipses slowly increased until the 36th eclipse on 7 August 1850 which was 6m 50s long. The durations of totality then began to decrease. This eclipse (number 44) had a maximum duration of 4m 23s. The final total eclipse of the series will occur on 21 June 2373 and will have a duration of 1m 24s. After seven partial eclipses in the Antarctic, the series will end on 5 September 2499. Saros 133 will last 1280 years from beginning to end.

Gamma determines how the Moon's shadow, if extended, would pass through the Earth. A Gamma of zero implies that the shadow would pass through the exact centre of the Earth. A Gamma of greater than 1 misses the Earth and no total eclipse would occur. A positive Gamma passes North of the Earth's centre; a negative Gamma passes South of the Earth's centre. The value of Gamma for this eclipse is -0.35216. This means that the shadow passes South of the Earth's centre, about a third of the way to the edge of the Earth. This, combined with the fact that in November, the Southern Hemisphere is tilted towards the Sun, produces an eclipse in the Southern Tropical Zone.

The Diameter Ratio determines how much bigger the Moon's apparent radius is than the Sun's. In this case, the Moon's radius is 1.046 that of the Sun's. A total eclipse can only occur if this figure is greater than 1. The Moon would then appear larger than the Sun and could cover it completely. If this figure was less than one a total eclipse could not occur because the Moon would appear smaller than the Sun.


KryssTal Related Pages

The 1994 eclipse main page.

Maps of the path and a diagram of the sky at totality of the 1994 eclipse from Fred Espenak and eclipse details at the observation site.

A photo of the four people at this eclipse.

A travel account from Bolivia's Lake Titicaca across to the Peruvian side of the lake followed by a train trip to Cuzco, the centre of the Inca empre. This journey was part of a one year trip in South and Central America which included the 1994 Total Eclipse of the Sun in Chile.

Travel photos from Chile.