When dawn breaks across Cairns and Great Barrier Reef on 14 November 2012, the early chatter of birds and animals will be replaced by an eerie silence. The temperature will drop as the moon overtakes
the sun and casts a shadow so large the land will be plunged into darkness.
Eclipse 2012 is attracting world-wide attention from visitors planning holidays around the event which is best viewed from the Cairns region. The total solar eclipse will be seen along a strip of land about 200km wide which crosses the top of eastern Australia and the Coral Sea.
For a detailed map, please click here.
It is rare for a total eclipse to be visible from land, so the excitement is building for those who want to share in this extraordinary phenomenon. Three charter flights from Japan are bringing eclipse-watchers, and several cruise ships are scheduled to be in the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef region in time for passengers to see the eclipse. Accommodation inquiries are flooding in and special events have been planned to celebrate Eclipse 2012. Find a viewing spot from a beach anywhere between Bloomfield and Innisfail; a Great Barrier Reef island; or head for a wide open space on the Atherton Tableland or Cape York Peninsula. Choose accommodation at www.cairnsgreatbarrierreef.org.au.
What will you see?
As the moon moves between the earth and the sun it will look like a small bite which gradually increases in size. Watch for Baily’s Beads where the sun shines through the rugged surface of the moon creating points of light on the edge of the moon’s disc. These can only be seen for a few seconds before and after total darkness. When only one point of light is left,
it is called the Diamond Ring effect as the single bead of light looks like a shiny ring with an enormous sparkling diamond.
When the moon covers the sun entirely, a faint halo or corona appears and this phase is known as totality. As the moon moves away from the sun, Baily’s Beads may be seen again before the sun fully emerges.
How can you view the eclipse safely?
It is only safe to view the eclipse without any filters when the sun is totally eclipsed, but safety precautions must be taken before and after this phase. Do not look directly at the sun with the naked eye or through an optical device such as binoculars or a telescope as it can cause permanent eye damage.
Safe eye protection includes welder’s goggles with a rating of 14 or higher. Indirect projection is one of the safest ways to view an eclipse. The image of the sun is projected onto a white piece of paper using binoculars (with one side covered), a telescope or another piece of cardboard which has been made into a pinhole camera (by making a small 1mm hole in it). For more information go to www.eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov.
For more information on how to view a solar eclipse safely, please click here.
To view a complete list of Eclipse 2012 FAQs please click here.
Traffic and Movement Register
If you are organising a group of people to view the eclipse please complete this survey to assist us plan for safe and enjoyable experience.
Regional Council Information
State schools in the Tropical North will be making the most of this spectacular event - developing special curriculum and activities to assist students better understand the maths and science principles of the eclipse.
Contact your local school to find out more unique viewing opportunities for students and the school community.