Total solar eclipse, Cairns QLD Nov 2012 – tour entry.
“Halfway through our Australian tour, on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 there was a total solar eclipse which was visible in Northern Australia and the Pacific Islands. Another awesome show by mother nature!
Thousands of people in North Queensland had the opportunity to view the rare spectacle of a total solar eclipse when the moon covers the entire face of the sun.
Seeing a total eclipse is perhaps one of the most spectacular astronomical phenomenon that you will ever see. Cairns was lucky enough to be directly in the path of the moons shadow.
There are five stages that are observed during a total eclipse.
First contact – is the beginning stage of a total eclipse. Also referred to as a partial eclipse, the moon’s shadow first becomes visible looking like a bite has been taken out of the sun.
Second contact – occurs just before totality. During this phase you may be lucky enough to witness Bailys Beads, which are distinct points of light seen on the edge of the moon’s disc. This is caused by the Sun shining through the valleys on the moon’s surface. The Diamond Ring effect is also seen in this phase, when only one point of light is left. When this disappears, totality has started.
Totality – Totality occurs when the shadow of the moon is covering the entire sun, with only the faint halo of the sun (corona) being visible. The corona is only visible during an eclipse and is an amazing sight. The temperature drops sharply, the sky becomes dark and animals and birds become quiet.
Third Contact – The fourth stage of a total eclipse is much like the second. The moon is moving away from the sun, Baily Beads and the Diamond ring may be observed.
Fourth Contact – The final stage of a total eclipse occurs when the partial eclipse of the sun ends and light is restored back to normal.