Australia wakes up to total solar eclipse

Added by on November 13, 2012

Australians woke up to a total solar eclipse on Tuesday – the first since 2002 and the last until 2028.

“The sun was just over the horizon when the eclipse started, and lasted two minutes. It was an amazing view,” said an amateur observer.

The eclipse, caused by the moon passing in front of the sun, provided researchers a rare opportunity to study the sun’s hot, outer surface called the corona.

A researcher explained they study the colors in the light emitted by the corona to derive the type of elements in the corona and determine the nature of ionized particles emitted by the corona.

“In the past scientists were only able to study the sun’s corona during a total eclipse. They would trek to various parts of the world to record as much as they could in the short moments of totality,” added the researcher.

According to NASA the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) satellites, launched in 1995, now offer a means to get constant information about the sun.

The last total solar eclipse of the 21st century, in Australia, was in December 2002, with the next expected on July 22 2028. The next total eclipse visible outside Australia is expected on march 20 2015 – visible from the North Pole.