The 2012 November 14 Solar Eclipse

By Andrew Rennie

The Space Show travelled up to Port Douglas to see the eclipse and record interviews of eclipse viewers. The photos below were quick snaps to illustrate our radio programme about the eclipse.

Soon after sunrise, as the partial phase began, there were already many people gathered at Four Mile Beach at Port Douglas.

However, clouds threaten to spoil the spectacle.

Panoarama of Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas, during the partial phase of the eclipse. Most of the folks interviewed by "The Space Show" are in these pictures.

No attempt has been made to stitch these photos into a true panorama. Scroll right to view.

As totality drew near more people arrived at the beach. News and internet reports had carried dire warnings of beach and vantage point overcrowding. However, even at totality the beach was less crowded than a Melbourne Bayside beach on a summer's day.

What was noticeable was the almost total absence of primary and secondary school age children. Lots of pre-schoolers with their parents. But what happened to the school kids?

Every time the pesky clouds moved away from the Sun, solar filter glasses were donned to afford an orange coloured view of the part of the solar disc that was not yet eclipsed by the Moon.

This is the cruise ship referred to in the Space Show eclipse programme. It was anchored just a few hundred metres offshore.

A few seconds from totality, clouds obscure most of the Sun. It is too late to try to run along the beach to find a clear patch of sky.

Totality has now begun. I have not set my camera on a tripod because until a few moments ago I was moving about doing vox-pop interviews for "The Space Show". Just a few quick hand held photos, all of which turn out blurred. Corona is difficult to see, partly because it appears to be very pale, and partly because of the mix of high and low altitude cloud that obscures part of the spectacle.

I drag my eyes away for a moment to see the dimly lit beach. Hundreds of flash lights are scintillating in the darkness - perhaps their owners don't know how to turn off the flash.

At the end of totality a thin sliver of the Sun re-emerges. It can be seen shining through the dark patch of cloud near the centre of this image (see enlargement below.)My hopes of seeing the corona for a time after totality were dashed by the presence of the obscuring cloud and the glare from the cloud seen at the upper left of this image. In the clear skies north of Woomera in 2002 I had been able, by masking the emerging sun, to see the corona for 30 seconds after the end of totality.

Seen through cloud, the sun begins to remerge from totality.

Partly obscured by cloud, the sun remerges from totality. The three images were taken at seven second intervals.

With the Moon now moving off the face of the Sun, I resumed recording vox-pops. But, the wierd thing was that a strong wind picked up, and some of my post-eclipse recording was marred by wind rumble.

Port Douglas and the six kilometre long Four Mile Beach, seen two days before the eclipse. The wind, cloud and showers, all evident in this photo, were peristent features of Port Douglas during the "Space Show's" visit.

Text, images and audio Copyright to Andrew Rennnie, 2012