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Group Activities

Southern Peru, 1994

Eclipse Site

The party I was with viewed the eclipse from the scenic confines of the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on the Earth. Tacna, Peru, a city of some 200,000 near the Peru-Chile border, is one of several oases in this desert, which runs from near Lima to central Chile along the coast. Arica, Tacna's "sister city" across the Chilean border, averages 0.03" of rain per year.

Being dry and at the base of the Andes, however, this forbidding desert is home to many of the world's finest observatories -- ESO, La Silla, etc. -- and for good reason; once above the coastal clouds, the air is clear, dry, and almost entirely free of light pollution. Our vantage point for the eclipse was 2.1 km above sea level, some 40 km east of Tacna, and well above the coastal clouds.

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