Great Oz Eclipse of November 2012
by Joe Cali
Observations from Trinity
forecasts recommended against observing from all coastal areas.
This forecast for Port Douglas basically applied to the entire coastal strip.
"The morning will be partly
cloudy with a brief shower or two drifting over the Port Douglas region
but most of the time conditions will remain fine. Expect between
3/8ths and 5/8ths cloud cover in the sky during the morning.
Cloud cover will fluctuate through the passing of nearby showers during
the morning so there will be some views of the eclipse – however
expect approximately 30-50% of the eclipse to be seen over this region
with the current forecast cloud cover. The chance of at least a
shower between 5am and 8am is around 60%."
Nonetheless some did
not want to upset their children's sleep cycles (or their own) so they
took their chances and stayed at Trinity Beach a 10 minute walk from our accommodation base at Marlin Cove Resort.
People who stayed at Trinity Beach included Andrew Wilson
Andrea Wilson Brad Wilson Cassie Wilson
Luke Wilson, Kerrie Holmes,
Marie Holmes, Tomas Francis Liam Francis, Arnold Orange
Margit Orange, Alina Onica
Geanina Beldea, Ioana Beldea, Dave Allan and family.
They observed the eclipse including some of totality through breaks in the cloud. About half of totality
observed through a clearing in the clouds. The journal entries of
the Wilson children and Brad's drawings are reproduced with permission below.
Wednesday 14th November,
By Luke Wilson
– 8 years old.
Today we got up at
4:30am. We first went to Trinity Beach to see the Total Solar
Eclipse. We had to wear special glasses to see the different
partial eclipses. When it was totality it looked like a
diamond ring. After the eclipse we went to
Hartley’s Crocodile farm.
Wednesday 14th November,
By Cassie Wilson
– 10 years old.
Today I was really
EXCITED because today was the day that the Eclipse was
happening. It was a Total Solar Eclipse, not just a partial
A Total Eclipse is
something when the moon goes across the sun and you can only see it
from certain parts of the world. When the moon goes totally
in front of the sun it is called totality. A partial Eclipse
is when there is no totality.
So, today we went down
to Trinity Beach at 4:30am in the morning to see the eclipse.
It was a bit cloudy on the eclipse morning, but it was fine.
The moon moved
slooooowwwwwllllyyyyy across the sun, then finally it was
totality. It stayed totality for 2 minutes, then it went
across the other side of the sun. The eclipse was REALLY
Partial eclipse begins just after sunrise.
Right: The Wilsons enjoying the eclipse at Trinity beach near the
Eclipse Day - Wednesday
14th November, 2012
By Brad Wilson
– 12 years old.
This morning I got up
very early to go see the Solar Eclipse I got up at 4:38am
Queensland time to see the sun rise. We walked down to the
beach and sat on the sand to watch it. It was getting to be
high tide when the sun rose. It was a lovely
sunrise. At that point we put our eclipse glasses on so we
could safely view the sun. It looked like an orange circle
through the black plastic lenses. It was quite cloudy at that
time, so the sun kept on going behind the clouds. One time
when it came out from behind a cloud, it was not a full sun.
A tiny sliver of it had been taken out by a dark moon. Over
the next ¾ of an hour, the moon very gradually covered the
sun. As always, it kept going in and out of the
clouds. Suddenly, in about 10 seconds it went very dark and
you could see lots of the stars again. This was the stage
called totality. This is where the moon covers the sun
completely and the sun’s corona, not usually visible to the
naked eye, for it is too bright to see, is visible as a white outline
around the moon.
Once totality finished,
we watched the partial stages again, but opposite. There was
no cloud for this part, then we went back to the resort.
Total Solar Eclipse by Tomas Francis (11)
Kerrie Holmes sets up one of the AAQ solarscopes before dawn at Trinity Beach. Her two sons Liam left and Tomas right munching on cookies as they wait for the sun to rise.
Dave Allan's daughter
took this picture at Trinity Beach as the totally eclipsed Sun broke
through cloud about a minute into totality.
Nan, Liam and I got up early before the sun was up. We walked
down to Trinity Beach got set up, ate biscuits, drank water and watched
the sunrise. There was cloud during part of the eclipse.
When we put on the eclipse glasses we could see the orange sun with
blackness coming over it. When the sun was completely covered the sky
was dark like at sunset. The moon looked black but you could see
the white atmosphere of the sun behind it. Lots of people
cheered. The cloud kept going across the sun. Then the sun
shone on the edge of the moon. We looked through the eclipse
glasses again and watched the moon moving away. I looked at the
projection of the sun Mum had made with a telescope on cardboard
- it was amazing! Liam and I played in the sand before we went
back to eat breakfast.
At the Port
Douglas Observing Site
Despite the unfavourable forecast, many members
Astronomical Society of Victoria decided to take their chances at the
Port Douglas site anyway as did NZ astronomer John Burt's Group, Henrik
Glintborg's Corona Adventure Tour Group and the Twilight Tours Group led
Their reasons varied. The tour groups were locked into
inflexible bus contracts and unable to move despite wanting to. There
were numerous others at the site includung Julian West of the AAQ.
Nobody in my tour
group went to Port Douglas. My group divided up between the
flight to Edward River, Trinity Beach, Mareeba and Maitland Downs.
Two of the other tour groups who had registered for Port Douglas went
there due to the fact that their bus contracts
didn't allow enough flexibility. Some smaller groups and
individuals did not want to travel inland and tried their luck at Port
The Danish Corona Adventure group of 74 people standing on
field outside Port Douglas had - regarding that 50 % of the sky was
covered with clouds - great success observing totality between two
We saw totality and a beautiful diamond ring at 3rd.
The event was - as always - celebrated with lots of French champagne :-)
Report from the Port Douglas Ultra Light airfield:
Saw part of totality, with about 35% of the eclipsed disc
visible above the cloud bank which hid the rest of the event...
Hope others saw more of it than we all did.
Richmond Astronomical Society of Victoria
Just a quick email to say thank you for all the effort you
into making the eclipse viewing a special event for us. The
was great and Grace was very helpful.
Some of our people went to the inland area you mentioned
and got some fantastic photos.
Thank you once again for all your work.
As you can see there is quite a discrepancy between these accounts.
Property owners Sam and Grace Cavallaro reported seeing it albeit
briefly. All observers were in a relatively small area 100 x 100
metres we had to keep a minimum safety distance from the helicopter
operations to remain within CASA guidelines. The ultralight
operations shut down and the helicopters used the far east end of the
airfield and use a north approach for a taxi way while observers used
the far west end of the field where they did look through the
helicopters lifting off at dawn but otherwise had a < 0.5 degree
horizon from sunrise onwards.
I can't explain the differences between the reports unless there were
some very localized clearances being observed on parts of the airfield.
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Home Page ..............Index of other eclipse reports
1. Introduction, Preparations and tour structure
2. The final eight weeks before the eclipse
3. Eclipse Week
Observation / Activity Reports
4. Stratospheric Balloon flight
5. Observations from Trinity Beach and Port Douglas
6. Inland Escape - Mareeba - Mt Molloy