AUSTRALIA: “When dawn breaks across Cairns and Great Barrier Reef on 14 November 2012, the early chatter of birds and animals will be replaced by an eerie silence. The temperature will drop as the moon overtakesâ€¨the sun and casts a shadow so large the land will be plunged into darkness.”
SO writes the official website, www.eclipse2012.org.au, of what is now known as “Eclipse 2012”. As in, what will you be doing to celebrate “Eclipse 2012” — the event of the millennium?
Well, at least for those of us still here in the UK and around the world, and not amongst the 60,000 visitors expected to be making their way to the Far North of Australia especially for the event, we have to be content to watch the live webcast as it begins at 7pm (GMT) tonight in the UK.
Watch the live stream of the solar eclipse from Australia, here:
Streaming Live by Ustream
What we, and the lucky residents of Tropical North Queensland, will be witnessing is the region’s first total solar eclipse in more than 1,300 years. That is, the first solar eclipse in that part of the world since 710AD.
No wonder then that Tourism Queensland has pulled out all the stops in the lead up. Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey said hot air balloons, Great Barrier Reef islands, cruise ships, dive boats and palm-fringed beaches are just some of the vantage points visitors will use to view the eclipse.
Three charter flights from Japan are bringing eclipse-watchers, and several cruise ships are scheduled to be in the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region in time for passengers to see the eclipse.
“Between 50,000 and 60,000 scientists, astronomers, astrologists, eclipse chasers and other visitors will make the pilgrimage to Queensland’s Tropical North and the region’s tourism operators are ready to greet them,” Ms Stuckey said.
“Most eclipse chasers will be in the region for five to seven days and are expected to spend up big on activities including trips to the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree, eating out and shopping.
“The Newman Government has a goal to double overnight visitor expenditure to $30 billion per annum by 2020 and this is an opportunity to promote Queensland’s Tropical North to the world, with a captive global audience of millions set to watch the eclipse live online.”
Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) Chief Executive Officer Rob Giason said the eclipse would give the region exposure around the world.
“The Astronomical Association of Queensland and a team of scientists will be working with TTNQ and NASA to present a live web broadcast from Palm Cove, Ellis Beach and the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Giason said.
Australia’s first total solar eclipse in a decade will kick off in the Northern Territory at sunrise, travel across the top of far north Queensland with the full eclipse coming into effect at 6.38am AEST (8.38pm UK) for two minutes, before exiting the east coast between Innisfail and Port Douglas.