A total solar eclipse is expected to briefly envelope Cairns in darkness on Wednesday. Total eclipse chasers around the world will be gathering in this Far North Queensland city in Australia for the grand astronomical event.
Queensland hotels are booked out at this point. Those who have just started planning on a solar eclipse adventure trip should be flexible and strategic in choosing camp spots. The rest of Australia will see only a partial solar eclipse. Brisbane, for instance, will experience 84 per cent partial eclipse.
An important tip for newbie eclipse travelers: Monitor weather forecasts leading to D-Day to be more prepared. For solar eclipse webcast viewers, know which website to bookmark and find alternative sites to be sure.
Cairns Total Solar Eclipse: 10 Things Observers Need to Know
12. Science lesson review: A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and planet Earth. It would appear as though only a faint halo or corona is left of the sun when the peak of a solar eclipse (totality) is reached.
11. As the moon follows its path during a total solar eclipse, daytime is altered by a brief night time experience, i.e. a drop in temperature is felt.
10. The path of the moon is around 200 kilometres wide.
9. The best spots for this solar eclipse experience are on beaches from Cairns north to Wonga Beach (north of Port Douglas).
8. People who travel across the world to chase eclipses are called umbraphiles. Umbra is the Latin word for "shadow."
7. The next visible total solar eclipse in Australia will occur in 2028. This time, the southwest portion of Queensland will enjoy the best view.
6. Would you rather watch a live webcast streamed from Cairns? Bookmark ustream.tv/cairnseclipse2012. Broadcast will begin at 5am AEST on November 14 (Wednesday).
5. Eclipse observers are warned against looking directly into the sun. Wear eclipse glasses or use appropriate filter on your viewing device, i.e. camera or telescope.
4. Photo enthusiasts should try taking creative shots. For instance, play with the eclipsed sun's light rays with a piece of cardboard with patterned holes.
3. What shouldn't be missed when observing a solar eclipse? Baily's Beads. According to this Eclipse 2012 guide, Baily's Beads show "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."
2. The full eclipse will last 2mins 4secs near Oak Beach, just south of Port Douglas.
1. The totality of the solar eclipse is expected to occur between 6:37am and 6:39am.
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