Total Solar Eclipse 2019 in Pictures: Photographers Capture Spectacular Images of Rare Celestial Phenomenon

On Tuesday, a rare total solar eclipse was visible over parts of South America, treating hundreds of thousands of sky watchers in Chile and Argentina to some spectacular views.

Total solar eclipses occur when the Moon passes directly between the Sun and the Earth, casting a shadow over certain parts of the planet.

In this case, the Moon's shadow—which measured just under 100 miles wide—appeared over the Pacific Ocean in the afternoon before reaching the Chilean coast at 4:38 p.m. EDT over the city of La Serena, Reuters reported.

The shadow, or umbra, then proceeded to make its way eastwards over the country at speeds of more than 1,000 miles per hour, before crossing Argentina and finally reaching the capital Buenos Aires, where clouds, unfortunately, hampered the view for some residents.

In many other areas though, weather conditions were ideal for observing the event. In fact, the shadow passed over the Chilean Atacama desert which boasts some of the clearest skies in the world—a result of the extremely dry environment and lack of light pollution—attracting numerous visitors.

"I've traveled from the U.K. [and] this was my first eclipse," Carol Wright, a tourist who watched the event from La Silla Observatory on the outskirts of the Atacama, told AccuWeather.

"It was the most incredible multi-sensory thing I've ever seen," Wright said. "I'm not sure seeing it more than once would ever be as good as the first time!"

To view the eclipse safely, sky watchers wore special glasses to filter out harmful ultraviolet radiation, which can cause permanent damage to the eyes.

The time when the moon completely covered the Sun's disk—known as "totality"—lasted for just over two minutes. At this point, the sky over the affected areas turned dark and temperatures momentarily dropped.

For those in South America who didn't manage to make it to the narrow strip where the umbra passed directly over, it was still possible to see a partial eclipse in many areas. These included the rest of Chile and Argentina, as well Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay and Peru, in addition to certain regions of Venezuela, Panama, Brazil and Colombia, the BBC reported.

In a partial solar eclipse, the moon does not totally cover the disk of the Sun, thus there is no moment of totality.

The world's next solar eclipse—expected on December 14, 2020—will also be visible from South America. North Americans, however, will have to wait until April 8, 2024, for their next chance to catch a glimpse of this spectacular phenomenon.