Venezuela overflight

To the attention of travelers from the U.S. East Coast and Canada. (Atlanta and Miami airports not affected)

Due to the ongoing political unrest in Venezuela, some concerns were raised regarding the potential flight restrictions in its airspace. In case of such restriction being imposed, southbound flights may be slightly rerouted via Guyanese or Colombian airspace. However, so far there have been no disruptions and the situation is carefully monitored by the FAA [pdf], which all American air carriers are obliged to follow. Below is an example of today’s American Airlines flight #953 from New York (JFK) to Buenos Aires.


Uruguay is now visa-free for Ukrainians

Today both banks of Río de La Plata became easily accessible for the citizens of Ukraine, as Uruguay has implemented the visa free agreement. (The stay is allowed, including with non-biometric passports, for up to 90 days, with the possibility of prolongation for another 90 days.)

More importantly, with closure of this last ‘gap’, Ukrainians can now travel across nearly all of South America without a visa (except for the Caribbean coast, Las Guayanas, as well as Bolivia, which issues VOA). The neighbours of Uruguay have contributed some years ago: Paraguay since 2009, Argentina and Brasíl – 2011, Chile – 2015.


It has become a common thing for many Western Europeans since around the 60’s to travel unrestricted in South America (or, later, in both Americas). This freedom has expanded to other EU nations over the years, as well as to their southeastern and eastern neighbours. The only South American countries that lag back with it are Suriname, Bolivia, and especially Guayana – the latter has a very awkward Cold War-looking policy of no airside transit to all but a few post-Communist states’ nationals.

Some other exceptions, however, remain to day:

  • Argentina requires a visa from the citizens of Bosna i Hercegovina, Shqipëria and Rep. Moldova;
  • Uruguay – same as above plus North Macedonia;
  • Brasíl – from the Republic of Moldova;
  • Paraguay – from San Marino, all non-EU Balkan states, Rep. Moldova;
  • Perú – from Bosna i Hercegovina, Shqipëria, Georgia;
  • Few countries in the region recognize Kosovo. (Perú and Colombia do.)

Flying to Argentina

The lunar shadow hits a random part of the globe each time, in 2019 (and again in 2020) it will cross South America. Most people will have to fly over 8000km (5000mi) to chase the total solar eclipse in Argentina. Let’s figure out how to get there!

The biggest international airport in Argentina is Ministro Pistarini Airport in Buenos Aires, also known as Aeropuerto de Ezeiza (EZE). So most probably you’ll have a layover there, and travel further west by either a domestic flight or an overnight bus. However, there are some international flights to Mendoza (MDZ) airport too (shown in black).

According to our research, the best air fares to South America will be available within 5-9 months in advance. This page will be updated in August with more details, once more airlines publish their schedule.

Only direct flights are shown. Note: We have deliberately excluded the countries that border Argentina from this map.

North America

from the USA: Miami, Atlanta, Houston, New York (JFK), Dallas–Fort Worth, Los Angeles;
from Canada: Toronto.

Central and South America

to Buenos Aires: from Bogotá, Punta Cana, Cancún, Ciudad de México;
direct international flights to Mendoza: Ciudad de Panamá, Lima, São Paolo.

Europe & the Middle East

from the EU and Switzerland: Madrid, Barcelona, Paris (CDG), Roma-Fiumicino, Zürich, Amsterdam, Frankfurt.
The longest non-stop flights are Frankfurt (11 479 km) and Amsterdam (11 437 km).
from the UK: London-Heathrow;
from Turkey: İstanbul-Atatürk (new airport) with a landing in São Paolo (12 257 km);
from the UAE: Dubai with a landing in Rio de Janeiro (13 878 km).

Note: There was an announcement of the direct flights from Doha and Addis Ababa, though this information is not verified.

New Zealand & Australia

There’s only a flight from Auckland.

Ok, what about Asia?

There are no direct flights. It’s located literally on the other side of the globe, so the travellers from East and South-East Asia will have to go a long way around (19,000–20,000km), with layovers in such hubs as Dubai or Auckland. For example, from Singapore and Shanghai, it’s equally far to fly west or east (the difference doesn’t exceed 500-700km).
As Argentina is an antipode of China, it might be a special occasion to those eclipse chasers who watched the 2009 total eclipse.


List of the longest total lunar eclipses

A total lunar eclipse isn’t a very rare event, as each time it is visible from around a half of the globe, unlike the total solar eclipses which are limited to a narrow path. On average*, one can see a total lunar eclipse every two years, without traveling, provided the weather is good. Usually, the duration of totality rarely exceeds 100 minutes.

However, not each time the Moon passes through the centre of Earth’s shadow – then it’s called a central eclipse. They are the darkest eclipses and are relatively rare. The upcoming lunar eclipse of July 27 will be one of such exceptions, being, in fact, the longest total eclipse in the 21st century. Below is a brief list of such eclipses.

July 16, 2000

Visible from Australia, East Asia and the Pacific.
Duration 108 minutes; umbral magnitude 1.773;
Moon located in Sagittarius (RA 19h75m, Dec -21.2°)

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The weather was good across the most of Australia, Indonesia, and parts of China, while the rest of South-Eastern Asia and Korea were under monsoon influence.

June 15, 2011

Visible from Africa, Asia, Australia and most of Europe.
Duration 100 minutes; umbral magnitude 1.705;
Moon located in Ophiuchus (RA 17h59m, Dec -23.2°), 15° east of Antares

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July 27, 2018

Visible (similarly) from Africa, Asia, Australia and most of Europe.
Duration 104 minutes; umbral magnitude 1.614;
Moon located in Capricornus (RA 20h47m, Dec -19°), 6° north of Mars;
Mars in Great Opposition.
Astrosafari expedition is planned to southern Turkey.

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June 26, 2029

Visible from South America, Africa, most of N America and southwestern Europe.
Duration 102 minutes; umbral magnitude 1.849;
Moon located in Sagittarius (RA 18h35m, Dec -23.3°), near λ Sgr

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July 7, 2047

Visible from Australia, the Pacific (incl. Asian coast) and most of North & South America
Duration 102 minutes; umbral magnitude 1.757;
Moon located in Sagittarius (RA 19h11m, Dec -22.6°), near σ Sgr and 13° east of Saturn

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Note. The following eclipses are omitted: 2076 Jun 17 (100min), 2094 Jun 28 (102min), 2105 May 28 (102min), 2112 Jul 09 (100min).

June 9, 2123

Visible from the Americas, New Zealand and Africa (except for eastern)
Duration 106 minutes; umbral magnitude 1.753;
Moon located in Ophiuchus (RA 17h13m -22.8°), 15° east of Antares;
Mars and Jupiter near conjunction (26′ on June 2nd), although far from the Moon, in the west.

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*In a three hundred year period (1869-2168) there are 159 total lunar eclipses visible from Vienna, 156 from Kyiw, 154 from Nairobi, 149 from San Francisco, 151 from Buenos Aires. See the Five Millennium Canon.
Maps made by Xavier Jubier.

Solar eclipse in Tasmania

Good morning! (or good night to our readers in America). The first one of the three ‘summer’ eclipses is here now.

It’s currently 1 p.m. in Australia (AEST, six hours ahead of Central Europe), and a partial solar eclipse is already underway. While the biggest phase is visible in the Antarctic (over 33%), there is barely any other land mass covered by the lunar penumbra. This eclipse is visible only from the extreme south of Australia and New Zealand, such as:

  • all of Tasmania (about 10% in Hobart, 7% in Launceston)
  • most of Victoria, with only 2% eclipse in Melbourne
  • parts of Southern Australia including Kangaroo Island; Adelaide is on the edge.
  • in New Zealand – only the uninhabited Auckland Islands (Motu Maha) and, on the edge, Stewart Island (Rakiura)

Yesterday’s forecast was showing a clear gap for the north-eastern half of Tasmania. Luckily, this turned out to be true, as seen on the current satellite picture. Don’t forget that it’s mid-winter down under, and that fair weather is often a tricky matter in the Southern Ocean.

There are few people but some locals watching this celestial event today, yet one of the eclipse chasers, Jörg Schoppmeyer has managed to fly there all the way from Germany and reports clear skies in Hobart!

Only four weeks (one lunar month) left till the next one, this time in the Arctic. See you in Tromsø, Norway!

Summer eclipse combo

— Good morning, Last Quarter Moon, what do we have for breakfast?
— How about a three-course meal?  —
she said.

  • In one week there’ll be une petite rendez-vous in Australia, a partial solar eclipse on July* 13. (10% in Hobart)
  • In three weeks, a tasty main course – a total lunar eclipse, nearly 1¾ hours long, visible worldwide (July 27/28) except for North & Central America.
  • In five weeks, a cold dessert in the Arctic Ocean, comes another partial solar eclipse on August 11. Northern Europe will have its slice (over 45% on Svalbard, 29% in Tromsø, 20% in Reykjavík). Then, ha det bra til år 2019!

We won’t be among the élite to see the Tasmanian phenomenon (*and sorry mates, I realise you call it a winter eclipse), but the plans are firm for the other two. Stay tuned!

Moon July 6thLast quarter Moon on July 6 from Kyiw, 7:12 EET.

Weather in Chile & Argentina – 1 year before the eclipse (updated)

Here is a sample of the weather patterns & forecasts central Chile & Argentina, where the next year’s total eclipse will occur (July 2nd). Let’s simply imagine what if it would be this year if he had a 24/48/72 hours forecast.
Update: Comparison with real satellite images from July 1-3 is added.

One should understand that this year’s doesn’t have to be the same as the next year, and usually the weather is largely unpredictable until the last 1-2 days. By then we’ll be in a nearby location anyway. Yet having a plan and knowing the typical forces driving the local climate never hurts a successful eclipse chaser!

July 1st afternoon (24h forecast).

It appears that the model underestimates the low clouds above the Argentinian pampas (although it shows a rough trend), while exaggerates the amount those on the Pacific coast. On the other hand, the model is precise on large systems – rain/snow in Chile. Another pinch of salt will be the jet stream, which produces Lenticular clouds over the Andes and spreads long patches of Cirrus to the east. This dynamic phenomenon seems to be another week side of the model.
Day’s conclusion: It would be still a good choice to stay in San Juan and an observation would’ve been successful on this day. Although the reliability of the forecast in other places is questionable.

July 2nd afternoon (48h forecast)

The model keeps doing the same big error with underestimating the extent of low clouds across the pampas. This would be crucial for the most of San Juan and La Rioja provinces this day. Only the high-altitude valleys of Calingasta and Pismanta is protected
from by the Precordillera range – BUT – here comes another problem. The jet stream forms a lot of Cirrus/Lenticular clouds that would’ve spoiled the view on this day.
Day’s conclusion: One of the fewer bad days in Argentina.

July 3rd afternoon (72h forecast)

It only gets worse and colder… Although there are many days with sunny clear skies across the continent, days like this July 3rd exist, when everything looks bad. Pacific fog, snowfalls in the Andes, moist cloudy weather across the pampas.
Day’s conclusion: Chile got lucky again despite the risky forecast. Another bad day across all of Argentina – that clear gap west of La Plata could also disappear within some hours.

Sounds all to bad?

Well, fortunately not. Last week turned out to be a cold spell in the region with excessive cloudy weather. On the adjacent days the situation was very different, here are a few examples:

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Over the last 10 years the weather on 2nd of July was predominantly perfect, with exception for 2012 and 2016. Even those ‘bad’ years, Valle de Pismanta had some clear skies. Judge by yourself:

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Note: Meteoblue uses NEMS forecast model for South America, maintained by NOAA. It can show some discrepancies with the GFS global. Satellite imagery by MODIS/Aqua.

Volcano Soputan erupts in North Sulawesi!

Gunung Soputan has erupted on Tuesday morning – 40km south of Kota Manado and 18km away from the Trans-Sulawesi highway. No damage has been reported. soputan photo 160105

The ash cloud didn’t hit any populated areas, and was spread  120-150km across the Molucca Sea (still far from Ternate).
soputan volcano 160105 labels

Soputan is a 1784m high stratovolcano, one of the 129 volcanoes in Indonesia. It is erupting every few years (forty seven eruptions known since year 1785).

The volcanic chain to which it belongs, however is an extreme northeastern tip of Sulawesi – over 400km away from the eclipse path, our primary destination. And there is no other volcanic activity in the other parts of Sulawesi. Therefore, it has no direct effect* on the forthcoming journey.

*There might be a risk of the temporary airport disruptions due to volcanic activity at almost ANY other place of Indonesia – like Jakarta, Surabaya, Bali. (so please allow for a few extra days when planning)

Indonesia announces visa waiver for another 84 countries from January 2016

Last week, Dr. Rizal Ramli, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs have announced the anticipated visa waiver for the citizens of 84 countries (see the list below), thus enabling 1,29 billion more people with easier travel to Indonesia for tourism purpose. It would be an addition to the 75 other countries, whose citizens became eligible for visa-free travel earlier this year (March-October). An amazing reform indeed!

Changes are reported to take effect from January 1st, 2016, however in airlines’ timatic the visa requirement is already lifted.


Indonesian tourist visa – no longer needed for almost everyone except for citizens of several countries (e.g. Iran, Colombia)

The requirements for entry will still include posessing a valid passport (plus 6 months) and holding a return/onward ticket. Visa-free stay may not be extended beyond 29 full days from the date of entry (including the latter).

Entry without visa is possible via 20 international aiports and the 23 seaports (see the list at the bottom).
Countries eligible for visa waiver, from January 1st, 2016 (light-green on the map):
Albania, Andorra, Antigua & Barbua, Armenia, Australia, The Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia & Hercegovina, Botswana, Brasil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Chad, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominicana, El Salvador, Gabon, The Gambia, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haïti, Honduras, Côte d’Ivoir, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, R. of Macedonia, Madagaskar, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritus, R. of Moldova, Mongol Uls, Montenegro, Moçambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, North Korea, Pakistan, Palau, Palestine, Paraguay, Rwanda, Samoa, São Tomé & Príncipe, Senegal, Srbija, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sri Lanka, St.Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Sudan, Tajikistan, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad y Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Countries where visæ have been waived earlier in 2015:
Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Rep., Danmark, Dominica, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italia, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvija, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lietuva, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, México, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norge, Oman, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Polska, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Qatar, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, the United States, Vatican City and Venezuela.
List of the international ports of entry to Indonesia (according to embassy in Sweden). Airports:
1. Adi Sucipto, Yogyakarta (Java).
2. Adi Sumarmo, Surakarta (Central Java).
3. Ahmad Yani, Semarang (Central Java).
4. El Tari, Kupang (East Nusa Tenggara).
5. Halim Perdana Kusuma, Jakarta (DKI Jakarta).
6. Hang Nadim, Batam (Kepulauan Riau).
7. Hasanuddin, Makasar (South Sulawasi).
8. Husein Sastranegara, Bandung (West Java).
9. Juanda, Surabaya (East Java).
10. Minangkabau, Padang (West Sumatera).
11. Ngurah Rai, Denpasar (Bali).
12. Polonia, Medan (North Sumatera).
13. Sam Ratulangi, Manado (North Sulawasi).
14. Selaparang, Mataram (West Nusa Tenggara).
15. Sepinggan, Balikpapan (East Kalimantan).
16. Soekarno-Hatta, Jakarta (DKI Jakarta).
17. Sultan Iskandar Muda, Banda Aceh (NAD).
18. Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II, Palembang (South Sumatera).
19. Sultan Syarif Kasim II, Pekanbaru (Riau).
20. Supadio, Pontianak (West Kalimantan).
1. Bandar Bintan Telani Lagoi in Tanjung Uban, Bintan (Sumatera).
2. Bandar Seri Udana Lobam in Tanjung Uban (Sumatera).
3. Batu Ampar in Batam (Batam Island).
4. Belawan in Belawan (North Sumatera).
5. Benoa in Bali (Island of Bali).
6. Bitung in Bitung (Sulawesi).
7. Jayapura in Jayapura (Irian Jaya).
8. Marina Teluk Senimba (Batam Island).
9. Maumere in Flores (East Nusa Tenggara).
10. Nongsa in Batam (Batam Island).
11. Padang Bai in Bali (Island of Bali).
12. Pare-pare in Pare-pare (South Sulawesi).
13. Sekupang in Batam (Batam Island).
14. Sibolga in Sibolga (North Sumatra).
15. Soekarno-Hatta in Makassar (South Sulawesi).
16. Sri Bintan Pura in Tanjung Pinang (Riau).
17. Tanjung Balai Karimun (Sumatera).
18. Tanjung Mas in Semarang (Central Java).
19. Tanjung Priok in Jakarta (Capital of Indonesia).
20. Teluk Bayur in Padang (West Sumatra).
21. Batam Centre in Batam (Batam Island).
22. Tenau in Kupang (East Nusa Tenggara Province).
23. Yos Sudarso in Dumai (Riau Province, Sumatra)
Selamat datang! – Welcome!