A total solar eclipse will be visible at Thala Beach Lodge (on the coast between Cairns and Port Douglas, Australia) at approx 20:39 UT ( 6:39 am local time) on the 14th November 2012.
This exciting event occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the Sun. If the moon’s shadow falls on the earth at that time and you are located in the ‘path of totality’ a total solar eclipse is visible. The path of totality is normally approximately 10000 miles long but only 100 miles wide, covering less than 1% of the Earth’s surface. Providing you are located inside the path of totality at the right time you will witness the sun seemingly disappear in the middle of the day and the sky quickly darken before lighting up again as the moon’s shadow moves.
In 2012 the Path of Totality runs directly over Thala Beach Lodge and a section of Northern Australian Coast. Only one total solar eclipse occurs every year or two, due to the narrow ‘path of totality’ seeing a total solar eclipse is a rare event – in fact you would have to wait an average 375 years to see two total solar eclipses from the same place.
On the 14th November 2012 the Total Solar Eclipse Path of Totality will begin close to Tor Rock in The Northern Territory of Australia where it will move southeast across the Gulf of Capentaria towards Cairns with the centreline crossing between Cairns and Port Douglas. At this stage the Total Solar Eclipse is predicted to last 2 minutes 4 seconds in the centre of the Path of Totality which will be 143 km wide. Thala Beach Lodge is located within 2 kilometres of the center of the Path of Totality making it in prime position for viewing of this awe inspiring event. This spectacular natural phenomenon is, for many, a once in a lifetime event to witness.
A eclipse of the Sun can only occur on a new moon which occurs every 29 ½ days. This would lead you to believe more solar eclipses would occur. The reason for the rarity of this event is that the moon’s orbit around earth is tilted by 5 degrees to Earth’s orbit around the Sun. This means that on a New Moon the Moon’s shadow usually gets thrown above or below the Earth – therefore making a solar eclipse unseen from Earth.
Through time the solar eclipse has played a role in ancient cultures by being attributed to supernatural causes. In ancient China the solar and lunar eclipses were regarded as heavenly signs and their prediction was regarded with importance because the eclipses were credited with foretelling the emperor’s future. There was a belief that a celestial dragon was swallowing the Sun so drums were beaten and arrows fired at the sun to scare the dragon away.