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article imageTotal Solar Eclipse: Easter Island fully booked on July 11

By Igor I. Solar     Jul 4, 2010 in Science
Santiago - Easter Island, a remote small island in the South Pacific Ocean is the best and one of the very few locations in the Southern Hemisphere to watch a total eclipse of the sun taking place on July 11.
There is only one village on the Island, Hanga Roa, with lodging capacity for about 1700 visitors. However, close to 4000 tourists, astronomers and eclipse chasers are expected to come to Easter Island on July 11 to watch the 4 minute 41 second celestial show.
The information on the event published by NASA states: The path of the Moon's umbral shadow crosses the South Pacific Ocean where it makes no landfall except for Mangaia (Cook Islands) and Easter Island (Isla de Pascua). The path of totality ends just after reaching southern Chile and Argentina. The Moon's penumbral shadow produces a partial eclipse visible from a much larger region covering the South Pacific and southern South America.
Total Solar eclipse 1999 in France.
Total Solar eclipse 1999 in France.
Luc Viatour
Since the small island is located exactly on the narrow “path of totality” or umbra of the eclipse, and the event will take place right about the time of the day when it is most favourable for observation, with the Sun 40° above the horizon, most people interested on witnessing the eclipse will travel to Easter Island hoping for good weather conditions and unobstructed view of the moon’s shadow. However, weather predictions for the date are about 55-60% for cloudy conditions. The only guarantee of view of the umbra, and even the possibility of following for a short time the path of totality would be from a jet airplane.
Detailed topographic map of Easter Island. Note dots (miniature Moai) showing the locations of the s...
Detailed topographic map of Easter Island. Note dots (miniature Moai) showing the locations of the stone statues around the Island.
Eric Gaba
The small, triangle-shaped Polynesian volcanic island is one of the most isolated islands on the planet. The closest inhabited location is Pitcairn Island, a British Overseas Territory, 2075 km to the West in the central South Pacific. The nearest continental land is the coast of Chile, 3510 km to the East. Easter Island is a possession of Chile, part of the Region of Valparaíso, with about 4000 inhabitants, about 60% of which are Rapa-nui people of Polynesian ancestry (or Pascuenses, from the name of the island in Spanish: Isla de Pascua).
The Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is known as an exotic tourist destination because of the mysterious statues made of volcanic rock called “moais”. There are 887 inventoried monolithic stone statues many of which are placed in the perimeter of the coastline facing inland, but about half of them remained abandoned near the quarry were the stone comes from, close to the volcano Rano Raraku.
Dan Falk a science journalist, author and photographer says:
I've been looking forward to this remarkable natural event for more than a decade. It's an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Fingers crossed for clear skies on Easter Island on 11 July!
Six of the 15 Moais standing at Ahu Tongariki in Easter Island  Chile.
Six of the 15 Moais standing at Ahu Tongariki in Easter Island, Chile.
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