14 Nov, 2012 – Total Solar Eclipse

This Total Solar Eclipse occurred on the morning of 14 November 2012 (13 November Universal Time). The shadow of the Moon first made landfall in Northern Territory at sunrise, then swept across the Far North Queensland (FNQ) region before heading out to the Pacific Ocean, passing north of the North Island of New Zealand.

Path of totality for 2012 TSE.  Courtesy of Google Interactive Maps by Xavier Jubier
Path of totality for 2012 TSE. Courtesy of Google Interactive Maps by Xavier Jubier

The map below shows more detail of the path of totality across FNQ. The centre line of the path crossed over Palmerville, Maitland Downs and Oak Beach. The southern limit of the eclipse path crossed through Dimbula, Malanda and the southern suburbs of Innisfail. The northern limit of the path crossed at the coast just north of Bloomfield. Major coastal towns within the path of totality included Innisfail, Cairns, Palm Cove, and Port Douglas. Major inland regions included Atherton, Mareeba, Mt Carbine, Mt Molloy, Palmer River Roadhouse, and Lakeland.

Path of totality for the 2012 Total Eclipse over Far North Queensland.  Courtesy of Michael Zeiler
Path of totality for the 2012 Total Eclipse over Far North Queensland. Courtesy of Michael Zeiler

The maximum width of the path was 179km. Totality lasted a maximum of 4 minutes and 2 seconds at the point of greatest eclipse out in the Pacific Ocean. Within the region of FNQ, the maximum length of eclipse was 2 minutes and 3 seconds at the coast near Oak Beach. From Cairns, the major population area within the path of totality, sunrise occurred at 5.38 am. The eclipse started at 5.45 am and continued until the start of totality around 6.38 am which lasted exactly 2 minutes, ending at 6.40 am. The eclipse then continued until the Moon no longer made contact with the Sun at 7.40 am.

Many people who viewed along the coast of North Queensland experienced heavy cloud, whereas those who viewed from inland locations had clearer skies.

The TSE of 2012 was my 8th total eclipse, and was very special for me.  The path of totality went over the region of Australia where I am from.  I relocated back home for a period of six months so I could be involved in the preparations for the eclipse, and also to undertake research about the eclipse experience.

The following is a slideshow of images of the 2012 eclipse, taken from my book Totality.  All images are copyrighted to the original photographer, as outlined in the book and should not be used without permission.

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I did a number of events in the region in the lead up to the eclipse, including a two part lecture series at James Cook University, Cairns and presentations to schools, clubs, community groups, and even answering questions at Rusty’s Markets. I undertook a pre- and post-eclipse survey, and undertook hundreds of interviews with locals and visitors about their eclipse experience.

The last total eclipse that could be seen in Australia was in 2002 which could be seen over Ceduna / Lyndhurst. The next total eclipse that will be seen from Australia, after this one, will be in 2023. This is a rare eclipse that just grazes the coast of Western Australia. After that, the total eclipse of 2028 will be a treat – it crosses the whole continent, allowing many to see it, including everyone in Sydney.

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