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Forewarning is fair warning. We gave ample notice for yesterday's astronomical event in Australia. Now, we can give you the low-down on the total solar eclipse that passed directly over the tropical town of Cairns.
Star gazers from all over the world flocked to the Aussie state called Queenslandironically known as the Sunshine Stateto view the phenomenon. The towns of Port Douglas and Cairns had the best vantage points to catch the precise moment the moon passed in front of the sun to block out its rays. The result? Imagine looking at everything through darkly tinted windows.
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Last week's Blue Moon, which coincided with the burial of Neil Armstrong
It's getting crazy in Cairns. Even though the total solar eclipse is still over two months away, our Aussie embed assures us that hotel rooms are booking up and excitement is growing for the celestial event best visible from this Aussie city.
As we had actually considered heading down under for it, we were a tad dismayed. But wait! There's still plenty other astronomic occurrences to travel for yet this year and here's several:*
September 29: Uranus at Opposition. The blue-green planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. You'll need a telescope for this one, or give your local observatory a call and see if they'll be hosting an event.
October 20-21: Orionids Meteor Shower. Wake up super early or stay up really late between Oct 20-24, head outside with a thermos full of good stuff and look up into the night sky for what will hopefully be 20 meteors and hour. Get outside the city and suburbs, beyond light pollution, to take in the show.
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Your attention please as you've got just under three months to plan where you'll be to enjoy the next total solar eclipse. This warning comes so early because it may just require some serious long-haul travel, considering that the best viewing area will be Down Under.
Now keep in mind that this sort of total solar eclipse visible from a city won't happen again until spring of 2016, and then you'll have to be in Indonesia. So here's the details you'll need to get going on trip planning:
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It's May 1, you guys. That means you've got twenty days to plan where you'll be to enjoy the annual big eclipse. It doesn't mark the start of summerthat's the solstice on June 20. This is the Vernal Equinox, and it's still pretty important to astronomers, astrologers and people whose dream is to dance naked at Stonehenge. Here's the details you'll need to get going on trip planning:
The date: May 20.
The approximate time: 5.28pm MST (Mountain Standard Time)
Type of eclipse: Solar annular eclipse.
The best places from which to view it: The Grand Canyon, hands down. Not only will Arizona be perfectly positioned to see the entire moon align right over the sun, giving viewers the desired effect of the annula, but it's where the NASA scientists and avid amateur astronomers will be be staked out with their telescopes. If you can't make it to the Grand Canyon, you'll still have a chance to see the eclipse if you're located on the Pacific coast, since sunset won't have happened yet when the eclipse goes down.
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Many people flock Down Under to bask in the sun, but now Australia has become a destination to also soak up some shade. According to NASA, some parts of the earth will be able to view a total solar eclipse this November. November 13th to be exact. The majority of Australia will be able to view, at least, a partial eclipse of the largest star.
According to NASA's website dedicated to the planetary phenomenon, the northern half of Oz will be able to witness the moon blocking our view of the sun. To be even more specific, the tropical city of Cairns will be one of the places to be in November. The sun's ray will be blocked by the moon for about 60 seconds casting an eerie twilight on most of the region, given clear skies.
Last night, or at 8:53am in China, a total solar eclipse covered much of Southeast Asia in daytime darkness for just over 6 minutes. Specifically affecting eastern China, Nepal and India, the eclipse was the longest of the 21st century thus far and made for some great photographer meet-ups.
In Shanghai, a group gathered for a unique brunch on the roof of the famous M On The Bund Restaurant to capture the spectacle; ChinaTravel.net then points out their amazing photosof the eclipse itself and then of the resulting, eerie darkness.
We feel a little snubbed. March 29th's total solar eclipse will be skipping North and Central America for Brazil, Turkey, Libya, Egypt, and onward through to Mongolia. A much wider partial-eclipse band will cut through Africa, Europe, and central Asia. If you're an American thinking you'll wait for the next one, keep your passport renewed or be patient -- the next total eclipse to pass through the United States won't be until 2017.
· Total Solar Eclipse [Exploratorium, via WOW]
· Eclipse page [NASA]
· Total Eclipse of the Heart [Jaunted]