Eclipse Update Report:

FNQ Eclipse Experience:

NightSkySecrets held the eclipse tour on the family property at Edmonton and going by the feedback it was a great success. We were joined by guests from Brisbane, Wollongong, Kansas (USA), the UK and Nhulunbuy as well as family and a few locals.

Overnight rain led to a few nervous moments in the early hours of the morning, but with the rise of the dawn chorus of birds and a quick look outside soon revealed the stars in the brightening morning sky, a great omen !

Clouds low in the east threatened to disrupt our eclipse in the 20 minutes or so following sunrise as our guests gathered on the veranda of the homestead. Bright rays of the rising sun shone between the clouds, the morning sky an epic herald of a momentous event about to occur. With the sun beginning to shine through the clouds, everyone donned their eclipse glasses and were soon rewarded with the sight of the perhaps 20% eclipsed sun.

From here on it just got better, with the clouds totally clearing away, to reveal the steadily diminishing sun. Viewing through a solar filtered telescope we were able to see 4 large groups of sunspots, as they were steadily consumed by the advancing moon.

As totality neared the sense of anticipation was palpable and in the darkening shadows, the now deeply eclipsed Sun cast little eclipse crescents everywhere ,with the tree’s acting as “Pinhole” projectors onto any flat surface in the shade.

With the sun now almost obscured by the moon the air grew cool and a breeze blew across the gathered eclipse chasers and the chatter dropped off as we all held our breath for the coming spectacle.

We were not disappointed, as the last lick of the sun vanished & with our eclipse glasses now removed we saw the bright coronosphere of the sun emerge. The birds began to sing their sunset song, and the brightest stars & planets came out in the twilight sky. The suns corona now swelled to twice the size of the sun, the sky an eerie deep navy blue against the sunrise/sunset glow in the east.

 

The slightly less than 2 minutes of totality was dramatically ended with the jaw dropping diamond ring effect signifying the suns return to partial eclipse as the moon slipped down towards the east. Words cannot describe the experience of a total solar eclipse, but it is certainly a moving experience. It gives, I believe a sense of our small place in the great scheme of things & the power of nature to take away even our sun, in such a dramatic fashion. We were I believe very fortunate to see the entire totality with no cloud cover, many people in Cairns city, Kuranda & Port douglas, had their moment of totality partially obscured by clouds. By all reports though, the experience still had a special magic, cloudy or not.

Thanks to Roger & Jenny in hosting our event on their beautiful property.

 

I think the today, a whole new generation of eclipse chasers have been born in Far North Queensland !

Arnhem land Eclipse Experience:

Eclipse from Gove Peninsula Surf Club

 

 

Meanwhile up in Arnhem Land NT the eclipse had already begun. In Nhulunbuy, the town where I spend much of my time working & enjoying the night sky with Gove Amateur Astronomers, many people were out on the beaches and high vantage points such as Mt Nhulun in the middle of town (Mtn. in name only !) & on town beach and Cape Wirrawuy. The view from town was of the partial eclipse, still a spectacular sight as it rose from the gulf of Carpentaria.

This view from the surf club, taken by Alan Cross, shows that it was indead a sight to behold.

 

 

There were those who were willing and able to travel further afield out to the Yolngu homelands of Yilpara, Guthalala and beyond. They were rewarded with the same awesome total eclipse that we saw from the east coast of Qld.

 

Des Osullivan was one of these people , with this wonderful series of shots looking over Blue Mud bay at Yilpera..

 

I am sure that a new generation of NT Eclipse chasers has arisen in  Arnhemland as well !

The Eclipses don’t finish here though, there is a penumbral Lunar eclipse on the 29th of November and then next years Annular Solar Eclipse in May. The fun has just begun 🙂

 

 

 

The Lead up to the eclipse:

The Total Solar Eclipse 2012 is probably the biggest astronomical event to happen in Far North Queensland and Arnhem Land NT, for perhaps the past 400years ! As you would expect with Cairns being our Home Base NightSkySecrets are hosting an Astronomy tour. Cairns, Port Douglas & Palmer River are  focal points for observing the Eclipse, however the eclipse cuts a path across Cape York  Peninsula from its Origin point in North East Arnhem land. On the Far North Queensland coast, totality can be seen from the towns of Innisfail and Atherton in the south through to the townships of Bloomfield and Lakeland Downs in the north.Eclipse

The Partial eclipse begins soon after the sun rises at 5:39am AEST  and The Total Eclipse begins on the Cairns Coastline at 6:39am  and lasts for just 2 Minutes and 5 seconds on the center line of totality. At the northern and southern extremities of visibility the eclipse is just 45 seconds in duration.

The Solar Eclipse can only be seen in it’s entirety with Safe solar viewing methods, such as a full aperture solar filtered telescope, pinhole projection or eclipse glasses such as those available for individual sale here on NightSkySecrets.

NightSkySecrets will be hosting an eclipse tour in the foothills of Edmonton on the south side of Cairns, including a tour of the new moon sky the evening prior (13th Nov), with a sunset presentation on Aboriginal Astronomy before progressing to the visual and telescopic tour of the heavens.

Eclipse totality will be visible from this location for 1 minute 50 seconds, just 15 seconds shy of that visible on the centerline of totality. Further calculations for the entire eclipse for our location are as follows:

 

Total Alt.*
 1st contact: 5:44:52.6 AM 1.9
 2nd contact: 6:38:47.2 AM 13.9
 Mid eclipse: 6:39:42.4 AM 14.1
 3rd contact: 6:40:37.7 AM 14.4
 4th contact: 7:40:28.8 AM 28.2
Calculated Limb corrections applied.
C2=0.5, C3=0.5 seconds.

Totality duration is calculated to be 1 minutes and 50.5 seconds. The Sun will be about 14.1 degrees above the astronomical horizon for totality.

To calculate the eclipse curcumstances for your location, use this calculator on the Eclipse Chasers Page

The Google maps street view image below shows the entrance to the property. There is ample parking nearby.


View Larger Map

The view to the east from the paddock below the property

 

The eclipse tour will begin on the morning of the 14th from 5am with fresh brewed coffee available from our very own “Cosmic Cafe”  as we watch the eclipse unfold, with the moon slowly enveloping the Sun from the west, before retreating to the east. Our aim is to provide a family friendly eclipse experience and as such children under the age of 16 area free. If you are an amateur astronomer with observing equipment and wish to join us, contact me directly using the contact us page, prior to booking.

Tickets for the 2012 Solar Eclipse Tour are only $25

Wholesale inquiries are also welcome for Eclipse Glasses. They come packaged individually in an eye catching Retail Display box.

The Queensland Government has recommendations for the safe viewing of the eclipse, which reflect the recommendations given on this site. Our Eclipse viewing Glasses meet or exceed these standards.