Day 318 of 366 Blog Challenge 2012

Hello all

As you know it has been a struggle to return to ordinary life again now that the initial euphoria of a our new grandchild has died down but talk of something happening like Australia’s first total solar eclipse in a decade has got us excited again.

After thinking that the sun, the moon and the stars shone out of our new little granddaughter Madeleine, we can take our eyes off of her for a few minutes and concentrate on the sun and moon in a different sphere!

The last total solar eclipse of July 11, 2010, occurred over the Southern Pacific Ocean, one of the most remote in recorded history. This latest eclipse begins in far North Queensland and ends 500 miles west of Chile.

Be careful!

However, we will merely have a partial eclipse here in Brisbane which will still be good but be warned: do NOT view it with the naked eye in case of permanent eye damage. Here is where people will get the partial eclipse:

A partial eclipse will be visible right down Australia’s east coast, across New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, eastern Indonesia and the southern part of Chile and Argentina, according to Britain’s Royal Astronomical Society.

Here’s how it works

The people gathered in far North Queensland will be the ones who will see the complete eclipse (see map at end of blog). For this reason, our favourite breakfast radio personality Spencer Howson was broadcasting today from Cairns (in the far north)and will bring us the live eclipse early tomorrow morning.

Now I’m not sure how radio can bring you the LIVE eclipse, but I should imagine a lot of description will be involved! Then there will be the ABC website (and other sites) who will show the eclipse live as it happens.

This is a big thing for Australia folks, and in fact people will come from all around the world to witness this eclipse. We will not have another until 2028 so let’s enjoy this one while we can!

There will be literally thousands of locals, tourists and eclipse chasers in Far North Queensland who have arrived to witness the eclipse. Of course they  are hoping for clear skies or else they will not be able to see anything at all. How disappointing would that be if you had travelled far?

I believe 50,000 tourists from Europe, Asia and the US have traveled here to enjoy two minutes of “totality” – weather dependent. That’s an awful lot of beds, caravan parks and guest houses in a small town! The economy will be humming.

Take note of what The News Limited website says:

For three hours tomorrow morning the sun, moon and our planet align to create one of the most spectacular sights on Earth. If skies are clear, eclipse junkies from around the world will see the sun blotted out by the moon at 06:39 local time. Read more here: watch-the-far-north-queensland-solar-eclipse-live.

So Geoff and I plan to be up early to “see” the partial eclipse through two pieces of cardboard . In fact, we have tried to buy the special “glasses” that you need in order not to damage our eyes but we have been unable to buy them here in Brisbane. Too late to order them online now.

However I do believe that in far North Queensland there are lots of glasses being sold. I actually remember some of these events happening when I was younger, but this time around, thanks to Spencer Howson, who is about as excited as a small child, we have caught the bug.

The total eclipse

Spencer loves eclipses so much that he travelled to Ceduna in South Australia 10 years ago to see his first eclipse and he is hoping for clear skies tomorrow in order to see his second. And this is what happens to people; they catch the bug and will go anywhere to witness an eclipse.

Then there is this particular man who has seen quite a few and wants no cloud thank you very much:

Eclipse chasers such as the Astronomical Association of Queensland’s Terry Cuttle are keeping their fingers crossed. Mr Cuttle saw his first solar eclipse in 1976 in New South Wales. This will be his 12th total solar eclipse.

Now twelve eclipses is a lot of eclipses to have witnessed! Mr Cuttle described them as a “fantastic experience.”  He said “all sorts of ominous, dark things that happen … it’s like nothing you have seen before.” It’s like switching from day to-night. And I believe that the birds get all confused and start going home to roost. All of God’s creatures cannot figure it out. Bizarre isn’t it?

Now folks, after the eclipse is all over, do you think people will pack up and go home? No way! Of course, the people in North Queensland know how to celebrate. For instance, when the sun re-emerges from behind the moon, 700 runners will begin the Solar Eclipse Marathon in Port Douglas.

North Queensland: where you can see the total eclipse

Also, as North Queensland have a bit of a hippy past, they will celebrate with an eclectic mix of DJs, techno and folk acts who will be performing at the week-long Eclipse Festival, near the remote Palmer River Roadhouse.

It’s all happening up in far North Queensland. I’d love to be there for the party atmosphere that will prevail afterwards. The people on all those cruise ships moored nearby and the hot air balloons that will be gliding over the Atherton Tablelands will be drinking champagne to honour the event.

If you live in the right place, what will YOU be doing tomorrow morning? And if you live far far away, you will get it online, so check out the time and watch here folks:

Embrace life and do it!