(Image: Tourism Queensland, Murray Anderson-Clemence)
Eclipse 2012 Photo Album courtesy of Tourism Queensland.
IN an already darkened sky in the UK last night, thousands of curious Australians and interested viewers tuned in to a live webcast of the solar eclipse that traversed the skies over Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef early Wednesday morning AEST.
Watching live at 6.38am (Queensland time) in Australia were an estimated 60,000 scientists, astronomers and eclipse-chasers, holding their breath as day became night for just under two minutes as the moon moved across the sun for the “totality” of a full solar eclipse. It was the first total eclipse the region had experienced in more than 1300 years.
Tourism Queensland Acting CEO Leanne Coddington said for the eclipse aficionados who had travelled from the US, Asia, Europe and the UK, and millions more who watched the event live online, the spectacle didn’t disappoint.
“For the last 24 hours the two sentences on everyone’s lips were ‘What will the weather do?’ and ‘Where are you watching from?’” Ms Coddington said.
“It rained during the night and at first light there were some clouds on the horizon but just before 6.30am they parted and for the thousands of people lining the beaches, on dive boats, cruise ships, hilltops and hot air balloons nature turned on an incredible spectacle.
“Along Port Douglas’ Four Mile Beach and Palm Cove, thousands of eclipse viewers stood shoulder-to-shoulder in a veritable United Nations, coming together for a single moment in time.
“We even heard there was a marriage proposal in one of the hot air balloons over the Atherton Tablelands.”
Mike and Elizabeth Davies travelled from London to experience their eighth eclipse, and will spend two-an-a-half weeks travelling Australia.
“We love it here and the people are incredibly nice,” Mr Davies said.
“We’ve been to Green Island and the Great Barrier Reef so using eclipses is a great way to see the world.”
Yeung Chak Fung Dagan and Peter Hin Yan Ghaw came to Queensland with a group of astronomy friends from Hong Kong and chose the beach at Palm Cove as their preferred eclipse viewing spot.
“This is our second eclipse,” said Mr Yeung.
“It is very beautiful here — we love it!”
Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Rob Giason said the eclipse had given Tropical North Queensland priceless exposure.
“Never before have we had such an enormous audience focused on our region,” he said.
“Many of our 60,000 visitors were here for the first time so we have made the most of our opportunity to showcase the region and inspire them to return.”
(Image: Tourism Queensland, Quicksilver Group)