People from around the world are converging on the coast of northeast Australia. The attraction isn’t the Great Barrier Reef, just offshore, or the surrounding rain forests full of wildlife and exotic plants. They’re going to see a total eclipse of the sun.
On the morning of 14th Nov. (Australia time), about an hour after sunrise, the Moon will pass directly in front of the sun. Residents and visitors of the city of Cairns, also known as the Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, will enjoy an early morning eclipse lasting 2 minutes with the sun only 14 degrees above the eastern horizon.
After totality is over, the moon’s shadow will sweep out across the South Pacific Ocean, tracing a line thousands of miles long across uninhabited waters, reaching almost, but not quite, the coast of South America. Back on the beach, scientists will be taking a first look at their data while tourists starting thinking about breakfast–and snorkeling in the reef. For all concerned, it’s a great way to begin the day.