solar eclipse cairns 2012

The 2012 Eclipse in Cairns

On Wednesday, November 14, 2012 a total solar eclipse was visible in Northern Australia and the Pacific Islands. Thousands of people in North Queensland had the opportunity to view the rare spectacle of a total solar eclipse when the moon covers the entire face of the sun.

Seeing a total eclipse is perhaps one of the most spectacular astronomical phenomenon that you will ever see. Cairns was lucky enough to be directly in the path of the moons shadow.

Videos & Photos of the Eclipse

We will be posting videos and photos here as they become available.

Video streaming by Ustream



What is a solar eclipse?
solar eclipse from space

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the earth and sun close enough to block some or all of the sun’s direct light. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun and blocks it completely, forming a shadow on the earth. For this to occur the sun, earth and moon come in a straight line in their orbits and it will seem like the moon has covered the sun.




Cairns Webcam

The Cairns Webcam is located on the Marina in the Harbour Lights Holiday Apartments.

The camera takes in views of the Coral Sea, Green Island, Cairns Marina and Trinity Inlet.




Palm Cove Webcam

Palm Cove, just 20 minutes north of Cairns, was the closest point to the centre of the path of totality.
The Palm Cove Webcam is located on the roof of Aloha Bar & Grill and points out toward the Coral Sea. Many fishing enthusiasts use the camera for a real time update on the conditions around Palm Cove.

Why was Cairns the best place to view the eclipse in 2012?

Two to five solar eclipses occur each year, and no more than two of those can be total eclipses. The 2012 Total Solar Eclipse on November 14, was best viewed in Cairns, which was on the path of totality of the eclipse. Totality will occured just after sunrise at 6:39am AEST (gmt+10) with the Sun 14 degrees above the horizon.2012 solar eclipse path

Totality lasted just over two minutes after which it moved out across unpopulated areas of the South Pacific. The Cairns Esplande & Northern Beaches were popular viewing points.

What to expect to see during a solar eclipse

solar eclipse animation
There are five stages that are observed during a total eclipse.

First Contact
First contact is the beginning stage of a total eclipse. Also referred to as a partial eclipse, the moon’s shadow first becomes visible looking like a bite has been taken out of the sun.

Second Contact
Second contact occurs just before totality. During this phase you may be lucky enough to witness Bailys Beads, which are distinct points of light seen on the edge of the moon’s disc. This is caused by the Sun shining through the valleys on the moon’s surface. The Diamond Ring effect is also seen in this phase, when only one point of light is left. When this disappears, totality has started.

Totality occurs when the shadow of the moon is covering the entire sun, with only the faint halo of the sun (corona) being visible. The corona is only visible during an eclipse and is an amazing sight. The temperature drops sharply, the sky becomes dark and animals and birds become quiet.
solar eclipse stages

Third Contact
The fourth stage of a total eclipse is much like the second. The moon is moving away from the sun, Baily Beads and the Diamond ring may be observed.

Fourth Contact
The final stage of a total eclipse occurs when the partial eclipse of the sun ends and light is restored back to normal.

How to safely view a Solar Eclipse

It is important that you are properly prepared to view a Solar Eclipse before it takes place. It is dangerous to look directly at the sun for even a few seconds and can cause permanent retina damage in your eye. As the retina senses no pain, the damage caused from the intense radiation the photosphere admits may not appear for a few eclipse viewing glasses

It is easy to stare at the sun during an eclipse as much of the sun is covered but is still unsafe. Looking at the eclipse through a telescope of binoculars is extremely dangerous and should be avoided.

Indirect projection is one of the safest ways to view an eclipse. This is done by projecting an image of the sun onto a white piece of paper using binoculars (with one side covered), a telescope or another piece of cardboard which has been made into a pinhole camera (by making a small 1mm hole in it). The eclipse can also be viewed through welder’s goggles that have a rating 14 or higher. Goggles are a fairly inexpensive method, allowing you to safely look directly at the sun.

About Cairns

Cairns is located in Far North Queensland, Australia surrounded by World Heritage Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. As a premier destination, Cairns is the perfect base to explore what the region has to offer. For more information and help on planning your holiday to Cairns including accommodation and tour options, visit :

Cairns Weather Forecast

For the current 7 day weather forecast in Cairns visit

About Port Douglas Rex Lookout between Cairns & Port Douglas

One hour’s drive North of Cairns is the coastal rainforest town Port Douglas. Port Douglas is a popular spot for both tourists and locals, who wish to soak up some sun and relax on the long beaches.

Port Douglas also features a wide range of restaurants, boutiques and day tours to explore the area further. Port Douglas Info specialise in planning your holiday to suit your needs.