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Total Solar Eclipse in Australia

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A spectacular site occurred on the northern tip of Australia Tuesday afternoon (Wednesday morning local time) giving thousands along the coast a show they likely won’t forget.  A total solar eclipse is when the moon passes directly in front of the sun cutting off nearly all light.  The relative darkness only lasts for 2 or 3 minutes on average, but it gives those witnessing an experience that very few get a chance to see in person more then once in their life.  Although solar eclipses are commonplace on earth, occurring 2 or 3 times a year on average, total solar eclipses are the most rare and also the most spectacular.  They occur about every 18 months somewhere on the globe, but often times they are quick or in areas that are uninhabited like the poles, the vast oceans, or in the Himalayas, or Arctic tundra.  It can be tough just to fly to the location of one, but it’s even harder to get one to come to you.  The last total solar eclipse to be seen in the United States was back in 1979 traveling from Washington State to North Dakota.  The next one though is just a few years away and will be the largest and longest total solar eclipse in the United States since 1918.  On August 21st, 2017, a total solar eclipse will travel from the central Pacific Ocean to the central Atlantic Ocean and cut across the entire U.S.  Unfortunately, the total eclipse will not make it through South Dakota although we will see a partial eclipse.  But you wont have to travel far to see the totality because it will cut a path through much of southern Nebraska.  You can view the pictures from Tuesday’s Australian eclipse below along with the trajectory of the next one across North America.

The following is a timelapse of images taken from a USTREAM video 3 minutes before to 3 minutes after the full eclipse.

(This is what it looks like during the total eclipse.  The sun is actually located in the center of the picture a solid 20 degrees above the horizon more then an hour after sunrise in the southern hemisphere's summer.)

(This is how a solar eclipse works with the moon passing in front of the sun.  But the sun is much larger then the moon so even though the moon is closer, the sun is nearly the same size as seen from earth.  This leads to a small total area of the earth that experiences a total eclipse versus a partial eclipse.)

(A little tough to read, but this shows you all of the annular and total solar eclipses across the world between 2000 and 2020.  Pretty common on the planet, but not so common in locations with people.)

(Here is a look at the much anticipated total solar eclipse for the United States that will take place in 2017.  The total eclipse line is in blue with the total eclipse from Portland, Oregon to Kansas City, Missouri to Charleston, South Carolina.  Unfortunately it stays to our south, but you won't have to drive far to get a nice view of a very rare site.)
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