Solar eclipses


Total eclipse of the Sun
14 November 2012

This will be the first opportunity to see a total eclipse from Australia since the South Australian eclipse of 2002. In 2012 the eclipse will be visible from North Queensland. The eclipse track will begin in the Gulf of Carpentaria, cut through Cape York and after moving out into the Coral Sea continue across the Pacific Ocean towards North America.

Cairns is on the path of the eclipse and may be the best viewing spot. Totality will occur at 6.40am Eastern Standard Time with the Sun 14 degrees above the horizon. Totality will last just over two minutes.

In Sydney the eclipse will be seen as partial beginning at 7.09am and finishing at 9.04am. Eclipse maximum will be at 8.02am with about 70% of the Sun’s diameter covered by the Moon.

Total eclipse of the Sun
22 July 2028

Should you be in Sydney on 22 July 2028 at 2.00pm you can view a total eclipse of the Sun. For 3 minutes and 50 seconds the Moon will fully cover the Sun, called totality, turning daytime into night time. This event is rarely visible from a large city like Sydney. Interestingly a similar eclipse happened on 26 March 1857. The astronomer Rev. William Scott travelled to South Head at the entrance to Sydney Harbour. At 6:50am he tried to observe the eclipse, for the 3 minutes that the Moon fully covered the Sun. As sunrise was at 6.00am, the Sun was only 9 degrees about the eastern horizon. Luck was not on his side as clouds made it impossible to directly view the eclipse.

9 responses to “Solar eclipses

  • I’ve gathered the Kimberley will be the place of greatest eclipse, referring to total solar eclipse of 22 July 2028. At what time will it be first visible on the NW coast of Australia. Also, what would be the time for best viewing from Tennant Creek or Birdsville or Dubbo? Thanks for any advice.

    • Lesley, You are doing some long-term planning! Yes, the Kimberley gets the greatest eclipse for this one. However, I’m afraid I don’t have time at present to provide precise answers to your other questions. You can find the answers from the following places: A map of the eclipse shadow; a Google map of the eclipse path; Try searching on the Time and Date site – you can enter a location and select the 2028 eclipse to find the timings.

  • >>This event is rarely visible from a large city like Sydney.
    True, although there have been major ones like 11/07/1991, which covered Mexico City. It was also one of the longest, at over 6 minutes of totality.

  • In addition to my initial comment regarding the eclipse – I would be interested in vantage points around Sydney also  (2 hour radius). Thanks.

  • I have two questions – 1st What will be the best vantage point to witness the Solar Eclipse on the 14th of November in Sydney?? 2nd Is there any way to photograph the Transit of Venus in June with a regular camera?

  • Thanks for these details. One question though: you note that a total eclipse of the sun is “rarely visible from a large city like Sydney”. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding your point, but surely it’s rarely visible from anywhere on Earth? The size of the city isn’t relevant.

    • Of course, you are are quite right, as usual, Roberto. However, what we were trying to say in a short hand fashion is the following: there are far more small towns and cities in the world than large ones like Sydney or Melbourne or London or Tokyo. So for any particular total eclipse of the Sun the chances that there is a small town lying on the track of totality across the Earth’s surface is much greater than that there is a major city like Sydney.

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