The Day of the Black Sunset

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The Day of the Black Sunset

Imagine it is early evening, and the day seems to stretch as far Tierra del Fuego. An ice expanse studded with royal blue glaciers and ultramarine watermelts surrounds you on all sides. You stand at the southernmost part of the world, poised and waiting for the sun to set.

And then, total darkness. The birds – ibis, condors, flamingoes, parakeets – flock confusedly to their nests. Guanaco, hares, foxes, and pumas scurry to their burrows. The temperature drops as the day turns to night in a matter of seconds.

The next total eclipse is due on 11 July 2010, with a Black Sunset over Chile

The next total eclipse is due on 11 July 2010, with a Black Sunset over Chile

You have just witnessed the Black Sunset. This rare natural phenomenon, a total solar eclipse, will pass over a tiny sliver of Chile’s breathtaking Southern Patagonia just as the sun sets this July 11.

Viewing a total solar eclipse is rare, but viewing a black sunset is even more so – it involves being in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. The eclipse will begin at 18.15.15 GMT in the Pacific Ocean, and will end as the Sun touches the horizon at 20:51:42 GMT in southeastern Chilean Patagonia. The next total solar eclipse will not occur until November 13, 2012.

The moment of “totality,” when the moon totally obscures the sun, will last 2 minutes and 45 seconds. At this breathtaking moment, the solar corona surrounds the dark orb of the moon like a lion´s mane. “Bailey’s Beads,” or bright spots of sunlight passing over the uneven surface of the moon, are visible, and sometimes even solar flares.

At the Hotel Remota, located in the fishing town of Puerto Natales in Southern Chile, you can witness the Black Sunset on a Chile Travel Deal with all the luxury of this beautiful glacial paradise.

All experiences include delicious full meals, guided tours to the surrounding city and glacier fields, and all transfers to and from the airport. Plus, during the eclipse, Dr. René Méndez, a well known Chilean astronomer will offer his expertise, eclipse-viewing sunglasses will be available, and a traditional Patagonian BBQ and cocktails will be served. Accommodations are limited and selling fast, so it is recommended that you book now for a chance to experience this rare natural phenomenon in this beautiful part of the world.

The landscape of Puerto Natales is awe-inspiring in itself. This tranquil town inhabited by fishermen in tin houses – is situated on the quiet waters of the Canal Señoret fjord and surrounded by mountains dusted with snow. Temperatures at sea level are relatively mild, and the days are clear and sunny.

The town makes a terrific launch point for ice hiking and camping through the glacier fields of the Balmaceda and Torres del Paine national parks. The Parque Nacional Torres del Paine is 700 acres with 15 peaks over 6561 feet. There are over 150 miles of well-marked trails. The parks are home to over 100 species of birds, including black-necked swans, flightless steamer ducks, condors, ibis, and flamingoes, as well as 25 species of mammals such as the guanaco and pumas.

Travelers wanting to witness this astonishing sight should explore Chile For Less’ special travel deal, Witness the Black Sunset.

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Kaitlin is a contributing writer for our travel blog.

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