Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




ECLIPSES
Sky-gazers in awe of total eclipse
by Staff Writers
Palm Cove, Australia (AFP) Nov 14, 2012


Tens of thousands of sky-gazers flocked to Australia's tropical north Wednesday to watch the moon block out the sun in one of nature's greatest phenomena -- a total solar eclipse.

All eyes and cameras turned to the heavens as the clouds parted over the state of Queensland and the moon slowly moved between the Earth and the sun, creating a missing "bite" that gradually increased in size.

Clouds had threatened to spoil the party and huge cheers erupted when they cleared to give awe-struck eclipse hunters a perfect view of totality -- when the moon completely covers the sun and a faint halo or corona appears.

"Wow, insects and birds gone quiet," one tourist, Geoff Scott, tweeted. Another, Stuart Clark, said: "This it it. Totality now. Utterly beautiful."

The path of the eclipse got under way shortly after daybreak when the moon's shadow, or umbra, fell in the Garig Gunak Barlu National Park in the Northern Territory, about 250 kilometres (155 miles) east of Darwin.

The umbra then moved eastward before hitting north Queensland -- one of the few places it could be viewed by humans and where tourists and scientists gathered to witness the region's first total solar eclipse in 1,300 years.

Totality lasted just over two minutes from 6.38am (2038 GMT Tuesday), with eclipse watchers donning special glasses to protect their eyes.

When it happened the early chatter of birds and animals was replaced by an eerie silence as the moon overtook the sun, casting a shadow that plunged the land into darkness, with temperatures dropping.

"Day into night, unbelievable, goosebumps, speechless, amazing," said Palm Cove eclipse watcher Simon Crerar.

The rare spectacle drew crowds of tourists, with the Queensland state government estimating that 50,000-60,000 people made the trip.

They included three charter flights with 1,200 scientists from Japan while six cruise ships were moored off the coast and hot air balloons dotted the skies.

While certain cultures see eclipses as somehow magical, Fred Espenak, an American astrophysicist and world authority on eclipses, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that they can be predicted with pinpoint accuracy.

"Certainly within 100 to 200 years we can predict when an eclipse will occur to within a second," he said.

"But the pattern of occurrence is a complicated one. They don't repeat on a time schedule like the seasons of the year."

He explained that when a total eclipse occurred "the darkest part of the moon's shadow sweeps across the earth's surface".

"Total solar eclipses occur once every one to two years but are only visible from less than half a percent of the earth's surface," he said.

Scientists were studying the effects of the eclipse on the marine life of the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland's rainforest birds and animals while psychologists were monitoring the impact on humans.

Eclipses have deep spiritual meaning for Aborigines, with the moon often seen as a man and the sun as a woman.

"Some believe the sun is in love with the man but he does not reciprocate these feelings so the sun chases him around the sky," said Duane Hamacher, an expert on Aboriginal astronomy who watched the spectacle from Cairns.

"On rare occasions, she manages to grab him and in a jealous rage tries to kill him but he convinces the spirits that hold up the sky to save him, which they do."

The last total eclipse was on July 11, 2010, again over the South Pacific. The next will take place on March 20, 2015, occurring over Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Norway's far northern Svalbard archipelago, according to Espenak.

.


Related Links
Solar and Lunar Eclipses at Skynightly






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ECLIPSES
Total Solar Eclipse In Australia, Nov. 14
Cairns, Australia (SPX) Nov 06, 2012
A total eclipse of the Sun will be visible from the northeastern Australia coast, along the Great Barrier Reef, about an hour after sunrise on November 14 there, which corresponds to the afternoon of Tuesday, November 13, in the United States. Jay Pasachoff, Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College (Williamstown, Massachusetts) and Chair of the International Astronomical U ... read more


ECLIPSES
China's Chang'e-3 to land on moon next year

Moon crater yields impact clues

Study: Moon basin formed by giant impact

NASA's LADEE Spacecraft Gets Final Science Instrument Installed

ECLIPSES
Mars orbiter back online after system swap

What Arctic Rocks Say About Mars: An Interview with Hans Amundsen

More Driving And Imaging At 'Matijevic Hill'

Curiosity Team Switches Back to Earth Time

ECLIPSES
SciTechTalk: All work and no play?

Get some bed rest - all 21 days of it

Latest China military hardware displayed at airshow

Obama Win Keeps NASA's Space Plans on Course

ECLIPSES
Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

China to launch manned spacecraft

Tiangong 1 Parked And Waiting As Shenzhou 10 Mission Prep Continues

ECLIPSES
Russia loses contact with satellites, space station

Cut in Russian link to space station not serious: NASA

Crew Prepares for Spacewalk After Progress Docks

Crew Preparing for Cargo Ship, Spacewalk

ECLIPSES
Arianespace's fourth Spaceport mission with Soyuz ready for fueling

Ariane 5's sixth launch of 2012

Ariane 5 is poised for Arianespace's launch with the EUTELSAT 21B and Star One C3 satellites

Ariane 5 orbits EUTELSAT 21B and Star One C3 satellites

ECLIPSES
Lost in Space: Rogue Planet Spotted?

Lowell Astronomer, Collaborators Point The Way For Exoplanet Search

Lonely planet: Orphan world spotted in deep space

Discovery of a Giant Gap in the Disk of a Sun-like Star May Indicate Multiple Planets

ECLIPSES
Chinese LED firm plans record investment in Taiwan

US to station powerful radar, space telescope in Australia

Afghan women learn literacy through mobile phones

36 in one fell swoop as researchers observe impossible ionization




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement