November solar eclipse

by Tanya
Publish date
1 November 2012
Comments (5)

Coming up on the 14th November we have the chance to see a solar eclipse. From here in Melbourne it will be a partial eclipse, with 52 per cent of the Sun's diameter covered by the Moon. But up in Far North Queensland and the topmost of the Northern Territory, they will be treated to totality, where the Moon will completely block the Sun for just on two minutes.

Partial Solar Eclipse A partial eclipse will be seen from Melbourne on the 14 November 2012.
Source: Museum Victoria

The eclipse will occur during the early morning of 14 November, with the Sun still low in the east. Therefore, a good view of the horizon will be needed. The timing for Melbourne is as follows:

Eclipse begins: 7:16am
Mid-eclipse: 8:06am
Eclipse ends: 9:00am

It is important never to look directly at the Sun, even during an eclipse. While the Sun may appear less bright it can still cause long lasting eye damage.

There are safe ways to look at the eclipse – at the Scienceworks shop you can purchase eclipse glasses that will allow you to watch the event, while protecting your eyesight.

You can also create a simple "pinhole" projection. It's as easy as making a small pinhole in a piece of paper or cardboard. Do not look through the hole, but allow the Sun to shine through and project an image onto a second piece of cardboard. Even a blank wall or clear patch of ground can make good surfaces for projection.

Sometimes nature helps out too. If you can see sunlight travelling through the leaves of a tree, you’ve got yourself some ready made pinhole projections. Check the ground and it might be covered with little crescent Sun images. Take a look at this great example on the Astronomy magazine website.

I’ve never seen a Total Solar Eclipse, so I'm heading up to Queensland for my first chance. I've been told that it's quite an eerie experience to have darkness fall while it's still early morning.

If you will also be in the path of totality for this eclipse, then be sure to check out the Eclipse Megamovie Project. Use your smartphone to upload images and videos of the Sun during totality and the Space Sciences Laboratory in California will combine the footage to create the first ultra-high time resolution movie of a solar eclipse.

What I'm most looking forward to is the chance to see the Sun's corona, the bright and tenuous gas that surrounds the Sun. Normally it's invisible, drowned out by the Sun's glare, but being able to see hidden things is something that's always captivated me about astronomy.

Solar Eclipse from 1999. During totality the Sun's diffuse corona and thin pink chromosphere can be seen.
Source: Luc Viatour.

Comments (5)

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Danilla Grando 1 November, 2012 13:54
It would be good to put a hyperlink in the following phrase from above "Check the ground and it might be covered with little crescent Sun images. Take a look at this great example on the Astronomy magazine website."
Brad Falconer 2 November, 2012 16:56
I have read that a French Scientist was doing experiments with pendulum's during a total eclipse of the Sun and the pendulum's went crazy. Does anyone know of this phenomena and what causes the pendulum's to alter their swing.
Discovery Centre 4 November, 2012 10:46
Hi Danilla! The word "example" is hyperlinked in the sentence you quote, but here's the link in case it's not showing up for some reason:

JulieM 11 November, 2012 14:42
I am a teacher at a Catholic School and would like to put a link to this entry on our class blog. Please let me know if that's okay. Eclipses are a fascinating phenomena! I am sure many of my students would love to read more about them. Thanks! JulieM
Discovery Centre 12 November, 2012 16:32
Hi Julie, sounds great!!!  We hope your students enjoy the blog and seeing the eclipse.
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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.