Sunday, 11 July 2010

While we are sleeping a total eclipse of the sun is occurring in the South Pacific on 11-12 July 2010

Animated map from NASA
While the NSW North Coast and the rest of Australia sleeps the Sun will be giving a spectacular light show for those lucky enough to live elsewhere in the Pacific Ocean on 11 July 2010 according to ABC News:

The Moon's umbral shadow will cross the South Pacific Ocean making landfall on the Cook Islands at 8:22am local time on Sunday morning (4:22 am Monday AEST). It will then travel over Easter Island and end soon after reaching Patagonia in southern Chile and Argentina.

The next partial eclipse which we will possibly be able to see here on the east coast will be on 14 November 2010 but the next total eclipse won't be until 22 July 2028.

First, the Moon's cool shadow will sweep across the landscape, bringing a breeze of its own to compete with the sea's. Attentive observers might notice shadow bands (a well-known but mysterious corrugation of the Moon's outermost shadow) rippling across the beach as the temperature and direction of the wind shifts. The ensuing darkness will have an alien quality, not as black as genuine night, but dark enough to convince seabirds to fly to their island roosts. As their cries subside, the sounds of night creatures come to the fore, a noontime symphony of crickets and frogs.
Next comes the moment that obsesses eclipse chasers: The corona pops into view. When the Moon is dead-center in front of the sun, mesmerizing tendrils of gas spread across the sky. It is the sun's outer atmosphere on full display to the human eye.

Solar eclipse over Cook Islandson 22 July 2009 from NASA files

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