Total eclipse of the Sun

15 November 2012

A total of 16 staff and students from the School of Physics made the journey to Far North Queensland, in order to have a glimpse at the total Solar Eclipse early on the morning of Wednesday 14 November.

For a full gallery of photos taken by School of Physics staff, see the Eclipse Gallery

Total solar eclipse at Oak Beach 2012. Image credit: Tom Gordon
Total solar eclipse at Oak Beach 2012. Image credit: Tom Gordon

Many of the School of Physics representatives were in the region for holidays with friends and families, others for conferences, tour groups and other commitments such as Dr Karl Kruszelnicki who was in Cairns with ABC Science and Dr Andrew Jacobs, who ran a live event with the Sydney Observatory A video created by the folk at the Sydney observatory can be seen here.

The path of totality began with a spectacular eclipsed sunrise in the north of Australia in Arnhem Land and cross Cape York to near Cairns before moving out into the Pacific. For the rest of Australia outside the path of totality, the eclipse was seen as a partial eclipse of the Sun in the early morning, although cloud cover was an issue in Sydney.

In North Queensland, the path of the total eclipse crossed the coastline at Oak Beach, where Science communicator for the School of Physics Tom Gordon, was situated, at 6:38:10 local time for just over two minutes.

Associate Professor Mike Wheatland who was in the area for a conference said "I thought the eclipse was pretty amazing. I didn't think I'd be impressed but I was. The clouds cooperated perfectly on the beach in Palm Cove, and the view at totality was just stunning - the corona was a lovely silver colour."

School of Physics Astronomy Honours student Aina Musaeva said "I can see why people travel across the globe to see this event! Absolutely fantastic, and so unreal, especially the racing shadow of the Moon!"

Eclipses can be safely viewed using a telescope equipped with a specialised solar filter or simply projecting the image through a small telescope. Cardboard framed eclipse glasses meeting international standards are also safe to use if their instructions are followed. Suitable eclipse glasses are available locally from reputable astronomy shops and Sydney Observatory. These solar filters and glasses should still used after the solar eclipse. It is still very spectacular to view the sun even when there is no Solar eclipse.

Information about the eclipses and safe ways to view them can be found in a Factsheet produced by the Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA). The sheet may be freely copied for wide distribution provided the Australian Astronomy and ASA logos are retained.

The next total solar eclipse to happen in Australia will be on July 22, 2028. The central line of the path of the eclipse will pass the CBD of Sydney where the eclipse will have a duration of more than three minutes. It will also cross Dunedin, New Zealand.

Contact: Tom Gordon

Phone: 02 9351 3201

Email: 222c3e5c1e3c14563e017620333d1f4a115a36020d62172c