FUTURE EXPEDITION & EVENT PLANNING - Total Solar Eclipse Visible from Cairns at sunrise on 14th November, 2012









Jacana, Kakadu




 Northern Territory
November is recognized as the start of the thunderstorm season in the Northern Territory with spectacular electrical storms visible most nights. Eclipse chasers who are also partial to storm chasing might be tempted to do double up on this trip. November is however well within the "official" wet season in the Northern Territory that starts earlier than north Queensland.

Observers, reminiscing the spectacular "coffee filter" or "tunnel" total eclipse in 2002 might be tempted to head for the area north east of Kakadu where the shadow touches down on the Earth. Observers hoping to see an encore of the 2002 all-sky show will probably be disappointed. The umbra in 2012 at 143km diameter will be seven times wider than the 2002.

Following our observations in 2002, I postulate that the visibility of the tunnel is dependent on much more than the observer's proximity to the end of path. The shadow width determines how far away the tunnel edge is and its altitude. This coupled with air mass and particulate content determines how sharp or distinct the tunnel appears. I am pretty sure that the 2012 tunnel will not appear at all as distinctly as it did in 2002. I would guess it will be more distinct that the apparition in the Gobi Desert in 2008. The shadow edges will have a little more altitude than at TSE2008. If anyone does succeed in getting out there, please contact me. I'd be very interested to hear about your observations. With such a wide path, the edges of the tunnel or coffee filter will be a long way off, wide and therefore low to the horizon. Definitely an interesting sight to behold but observers need to understand what they might or might not see and weigh this against overcoming the difficulties & risks involved in getting to the area.

Ubirr rock is located in the north east corner of Kakadu National Park on the border to Arnhem Land. Spectacular panoramic views such as this


can be seen from the top of the rock while rock art can be found around its base. The location isn't geographically ideal being well off the centreline. The rock is situated near the southern limit at the sunrise line.

Ubirr rock is probably the most easily accessible spectacular landscape in the path on high ground in this region.


12o 24' 34" S.......... 132o 57' 17" E

Arnhem Land (Getting to the centre line for a sunrise totality)
Arnhem Land is a large native title area that begins east of Kakadu and extends right across to the gulf. The all-weather road ends just past Kakadu at the Ranger Uranium Mine. After this the roads are distinctly less reliable, even experienced 4wd operators can find the travel difficult or impossible if monsoonal rain strikes. If dry, the roads are easily travelled with due care in a 4wd or 2wd with sufficient ground clearance. In the wet, a vehicle can easily be stuck up to its axels in mud. Road travel in many parts of Arnhem Land is restricted subject to issue of a permit by indigenous communities.

It is easy to obtain a permit to go to Oenpilli. You can get a permit on the spot at the Northern Land Council office in the shopping centre in Jabiru. Oenpilli is in the zone of totality about halfway to the southern limit. However obtaining permission to go into the lands beyond Oenpilli to "do your own thing" will probably prove to be more difficult. The usual deal with permits is that you don't stop or leave the road and drive directly to an agreed place - usually the next town.

In the region of the shadow touch down north of Oenpilli, roads are not all-weather surfaced. Permits to travel in the indigenous lands are usually issued only to visit the Gunbalanya Aboriginal Art Centre in Oenpilli. I haven't personally visited this area but I can't find any web references to people obtaining permission for camping stopping or travelling around these lands.

All roads in Arnhem Land are subject to similar restrictions.

Basically travel in this area beyond Oenpilli, though not impossible will involve a lot of paperwork beforehand requesting, justifying and obtaining permits and significant risks of getting stranded should rain fall.

Oenpilli & Arnhem Land Links



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