Society 09:42 12/11/2012

Total solar eclipse to be visible in Northern Australia

On Wednesday, November 14, 2012 (Cairns time) a total solar eclipse will be visible in Northern Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Very few people have the opportunity to view a total solar eclipse as the shadow only covers a very small area of the Earth and you must be in a limited zone to see the moon cover the entire face of the sun.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth. Total solar eclipses can only occur at some New Moon's but they don't occur every New Moon because the Moon's orbit is inclined 6o to the Earth's orbital plane. Eclipses only occur when the Moon passes through the Earth's orbital plane at New Moon otherwise the shadow misses the Earth.

On average, a total solar eclipse happens about twice in three years.

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