Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Total Solar Eclipse 13/14 November 2012


The next total solar eclipse is not that far away, We're about 2 weeks away from it. On 13th and 14th of November 2012 (UT) those who are located in Cairns, Australia and southern Pacific Ocean will have the chance of observing this. This time the greatest totality will last around 4 minutes of time with a magnitude of 1.05 Generally a solar eclipse will take place when the Moon passes in between Sun and the Earth, shading the solar view partially or fully relative to an observer based on Earth. The solar eclipse is said to be a total solar eclipse when the Moon's apparent diameter is larger than that of Sun, completely obscuring the view of Sun and the corresponding areas of Earth will experience darkness during such an event. Thus the totality will be visible to observers located in a narrow traverse across the Earth's surface whilst a partial solar eclipse will be experienced in a broader region.

Total Solar Eclipse 13/14 November 2012

Where to be

If you could happen to be in Cairns, in northeastern Australia which is where most of the eclipse-chasers are going to rendezvous, you would be likely to observe a totality of 2 minutes at 20:38 UT (06:38 AEST on 14th of November) on 13th November. Thus it would be just after the daybreak with sun at an altitude of 14° in local time on 14th. Further islanders of Norfolk Island, east of Australia will encounter a partial solar eclipse with 98% of Sun covered at 09:37 NFT. Additionally, Auckland & Christchurch in New Zealand, and Los Ríos & Los Lagos regions of Chile will be other land masses that will undergo a partial solar eclipse. However if you don't want to miss the maximum totality, you have to be located somewhere in south Pacific Ocean, on east of the International Date Line on November 13, approximately 2000 km east of New Zealand, and 9600 km west of Chile. That is 4 minutes and 2 seconds to be exact.

How to view SAFE

It is really important to be savvy how to SAFELY observe a solar eclipse, for what you're playing with is sun and hence there shan't be any mistakes at all, for they would lead to irreversible damage to your eye. You should never directly look at the sun with the naked eye or with some optical devices such as telescopes binoculars. During a total solar eclipse, there are 3 phases which are the phase of totality and the ones before and after totality. However it is safe to view the solar eclipse without any filters, ONLY when there is the short phase of totality. It is imperative that safely precautions must be adhered to during the other 2 phases. One common solution is using the welder's goggles/ glasses with the rating 14 or higher, as they screen out the harmfulness.One of the safest methods on the other hand is the indirect projection. The image of the sun is projected onto a white piece of paper using binoculars (with one side covered), a telescope or another piece of cardboard which has been made into a pinhole camera (by making a small 1mm hole in it).

Total Solar Eclipse 13/14 November 2012

Live streaming of total solar eclipse 2012

It is true that most of us can't travel to Cairns or to be in a cruise in South Pacific Ocean during the time of the eclipse. Therefore there will be live webcast/ streaming via internet as the total eclipse will take place. A Google search will take you where you want. However nothing beats the exciting adventure of traveling to the eclipse site and observing it physically and only reminds me the eclipse chase tour to Jaffna, Sri Lanka in January 2010 for the annular solar eclipse.

Here are some useful websites especially dedicated to bringing you updates and news from Cairns.

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