Eclipse to darken the sky

TURN your eyes to the sky tomorrow for a rare astronomical event that won’t grace our horizons again for another 15 years.

The east coast of Australia has a front-row seat for a total solar eclipse, which will start at dawn in the far north of Australia, with Cairns and Port Douglas the best places in the world to see it. For the NSW North West the view won’t be quite so good, but a partial eclipse will be evident, beginning just after 7am and lasting for up to a few hours.

In Sydney the maximum effect of the eclipse will be at 8.02am, when about 70 per cent of the Sun’s disc will be covered by the Moon.

The further north and east you are, the greater the partial eclipse will be. 

It will be quite the sight in Queensland’s north, where the Moon will completely obscure the Sun, plunging the area into darkness and creating a “diamond-ring effect” around the Moon’s shadow.

International scientists, photographers and tourists have flocked to the Cairns area for the event, which last occured in 2002 in South Australia and won’t occur again until July 22, 2028, over Sydney.

Whether you’re watching a total or partial event, though, the message from astronomers is the same: do it safely, with special filtered glasses that reduce the Sun’s glare, or use the old trick of a pinhole through a piece of cardboard, with another piece behind it to capture the effect.

Don’t view it through a camera, smoked glass, sunglasses or telescope.

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