Total solar eclipse over Australia and Pacific

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by ABC News

WHAS11.com

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 14 at 3:54 PM

(ABC News) -- There was a total eclipse of the sun Wednesday morning, visible only from a narrow strip that began in northern Australia and stretched across the southern Pacific.  North America is missing it entirely, unless you watch on your computer.

Cairns, Australia, is one of the few places on dry land where people could gather to watch the two minutes of totality.

Before and after totality, if the weather cooperates, the sun appears as a crescent, with its face partly blocked by the moon’s disc. If you were there to see it yourself, there would be all sorts of warnings about not looking directly into the sun — but it’s perfectly safe to look directly at your screen.

NASA has posted more information from Fred Espanek, its resident eclipse expert. As they point out, the rules of orbital mechanics dictate that there must be between two and seven solar or lunar eclipses every year, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be in a place you can reach. Typically, any given spot on the planet gets a total solar eclipse only once every 375 years.

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