Total Solar Eclipse 2012

The Path of Totality

At totality, the moon completely obscures the face of the sun, allowing the magnificent streamers of the sun’s corona to burst into view. Unfortunately for would–be eclipse chasers, the path of totality–the part of the earth that will experience a total eclipse–will be primarily across the South Pacific Ocean. The moon's umbral shadow touches land only in northern Australia.

At 20:13 Universal Time (6:08 a.m. on November 14, local time), the total eclipse begins about 155 miles (250 kilometers) east of Darwin, moving quickly to the east coast city of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. Observers there will see two minutes of totality with the sun 14° above the horizon. Then the shadow will race across the vast Pacific, ending its journey about 500 miles (800 kilometers) west of Chile at 23:48 UT.
View the eclipse path +

What it's like to view a total solar eclipse

Of all the dramatic displays that nature treats us to, a total eclipse of the sun is the most awe-inspiring. It begins with a gradual darkening of the sky that progresses to an eerie gray. It’s strangely quiet, prompting people to speak just above a whisper as they watch a flat, black disk slide slowly across the sun. The moment when the last crescent of sunlight vanishes is unnerving, recalling ancient fears that an eclipse was signaling the end of the world. Then suddenly the sun’s corona bursts forth–a shimmering halo of light that seems to surround a black hole in the sky. This is the magic moment; this is why eclipse chasers are willing to travel to the ends of the earth. Then the moon moves on, uncovering a sliver of sunlight, and everyone cheers the sun’s return.


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