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Partial Solar Eclipse for Australian Capital Cities, 14th November 2012
Submitted: Tuesday, 4th September 2012 by Mike Salway

Much of the talk about the Solar Eclipse in November, is travelling to Cairns/Port Douglas to see the Total Solar Eclipse on the 14th November 2012 - where day turns into night as the Moon completely covers the Sun, and the Sun's spectacular corona reveals itself as a halo surrounding the Moon.

But what if you can't travel to Cairns? What will you see from the rest of Australia?

You'll see a Partial Solar Eclipse. A partial solar eclipse is where the Moon covers part of the Sun. Partial eclipses are still great to view using safe eclipse glasses, but you don't get any of the spectacular effects of the total solar eclipse and unless you're viewing the sun (safely), you may not even notice the partial solar eclipse is happening.

Looking for Eclipse Glasses? Protect your eyes while viewing the solar eclipse. Purchase IceInSpace Eclipse Glasses from the IceInSpace Shop for $4 each, or $3.50 each if you buy 4 or more. Schools or groups, please contact me for bulk discounts.

Is it still worth looking at the Partial Solar Eclipse? Absolutely! It's stil a very rare occurrence and watching the Sun gets 'eaten away' by the Moon is still great to see.


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Partial Solar Eclipse, 04/12/2002. Credit: Steve Russell

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Partial Solar Eclipse, 15/01/2010. Credit: DaveM

When and Where Can I See the Partial Solar Eclipse?

The Partial Solar Eclipse will be seen by all of Australia and New Zealand, but in varying degrees depending on where you live. The further North and East you are, the greater the partial eclipse will be.

If you're looking for information about the Total Solar Eclipse, read this article.

So how much of the partial solar eclipse will you see from various capital cities in Australia?

The AAQ have put together a great infographic showing the amount of the Sun covered by the Moon in each of the capital cities.


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Image credit: Astronomical Association of Queensland

The table below shows the timings for the points of contact during the Solar Eclipse. The times are given in local time for that city. The last column is the percentage of the Sun that will obscured by the Moon (ie: how much of a "bite" will be taken out of the Sun).

City Eclipse
Port Moresby5:41:49<0°6:32:4612°107°7:32:0026°0.80876.5%

Safe Viewing Guide

WARNING! Never look directly at the Sun with the unaided or unfiltered eye, or permanent eye damage can result. You must take precautions - use properly filtered "eclipse glasses", or use special techniques to view the Partial Solar Eclipse. Never view the Sun through a telescope or binoculars unless it is fitted with a specially designed Solar Filter. Read below for a number of techniques to view the Partal Solar Eclipse.

Pinhole Projection Method

This is the easiest way to view the Partial Eclipse, and does not require any special equipment apart from one or two thin, stiff pieces of cardboard (white is best). Use a pin to poke a small, crisp hole in a piece of cardboard - this allows an inverted image of the Sun to be projected onto the second piece of cardboard below. Do not look through the pinhole at the Sun! Make sure the pinhole is as small and crisp as possible - the larger the hole, the fuzzier the image will be. Use this method with your back to the Sun, and the cardboard should be perpendicular (at 90° angle) to the direction of sunlight to give the least distorted image.

Some resources for building Pinhole Projectors:


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Pinhole Projection - courtesy
Eclipse Glasses

Special "Eclipse Shades" or "Eclipse Glasses" are available to purchase from the IceInSpace Shop, which use a specially filtered film which you can directly view the Sun safely. The "frames" are made from light carboard and it's best to hold onto them securely while observing the Sun.

The filters in the glasses are optical density 5 or greater and are “CE” certified which meets the transmission requirements of scale 12-16 of EN 169/1992 (Australian standard AS 1338.2 and 1338.3).

The lenses are made of exclusive scratch resistant optical density 5, “Black Polymer” material. Eclipse Shades filter out 100% of harmful ultra-violet, 100% of harmful infrared, and 99.999% of intense visible light. These premium filters create a sharper ORANGE coloured image of the sun. The backside is printed with information for safe use and warnings about correct usage.

Buy in bulk for family and friends, teachers and work mates, classrooms and hobby groups, and look cool in IceInSpace branded Eclipse Glasses for safe viewing of the Sun.

You can purchase IceInSpace Eclipse Glasses from the IceInSpace Shop for $4 each, or $3.50 each if you buy 4 or more. 

Our Eclipse Glasses are 100% certified safe for direct viewing of the Sun. Buy with confidence. 
Schools or groups, please contact me for bulk discounts.

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IceInSpace Eclipse Glasses

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IceInSpace Eclipse Glasses
Solar Filters and Binocular and Telescope Observing

The only safe way to view the Sun through Binoculars or a Telescope, is to fit a proper solar filter to the Sun-facing end of the optics. Never use "eyepiece" solar filters that screw into the eyepiece-end of a telescope. These are not safe and can crack under the intensified heat from the Sun.

Solar Filters are usually white-light filters, cutting out harmful wavelengths and allowing only safe white-light through the filter. These will allow you to view the Sun through your binoculars or telescope. The Sun will appear as a white (or yellow, depending on the filter) disc, and you will see the (dark, featureless) Moon covering part of the Sun. You will also see any sunspots that are visible at the time.

You can also get special Hydrogen-Alpha Solar telescopes or filters, which allow you to view the Sun in narrowband wavelengths so you can see surface details on the Sun and prominences rising out from the limb. Again yuo will see the dark Moon covering part of the Sun. Hydrogen-Alpha telescopes (such as the Coronado PST) and filters are much more expensive than white-light filters.

Some resources for where you can buy, and how to make safe Solar filters:


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Home-made white-light solar filter - credit: Mike Salway

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Group-shot showing various solar filters and observing methods - courtesy Craig Michael Utter (S&T)
Final Warning!

Do not try to observe the eclipse with your naked eye, or with normal or cross-polarised sunglasses - these do not offer protection against blindness if you stare at the Sun. Never use "eyepiece" solar filters that screw into the eyepiece-end of a telescope. These are not safe and can crack under the intensified heat from the Sun.

IceInSpace offers this information as a guide only and does not take responsibility for anyone using unsafe observing practises. Also remember, you'll be outside and it'll be summer - make sure you've got a hat and sunscreen!

Looking for Eclipse Glasses? Protect your eyes while viewing the solar eclipse. Purchase IceInSpace Eclipse Glasses from the IceInSpace Shop for $4 each, or $3.50 each if you buy 4 or more. Schools or groups, please contact me for bulk discounts.

I hope you've found this article useful - please feel free to share it with family, friends and workmates who may want to learn more about the Partial Solar Eclipse to observe it from home or work.

Check for updates using the link below, or on Facebook too, at our IceInSpace Facebook page.

Sample Partial Solar Eclipse Images

These partial solar eclipse images were taken by IceInSpace members over the past years and will give you inspiration as to what you can see or photograph during the Partial Solar Eclipse.


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Feb 2008 Partial Solar Eclipse, by iceman

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January 2009 Partial Solar Eclipse composite, by Roger Groom

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Partial Solar Eclipse, by ant

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Partial Solar Eclipse composite, by Dennis

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Partial Solar Eclipse animation (click to play), by cwjames

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Partial Solar Eclipse, by pixelsaurus

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Partial Solar Eclipse using Binocular Projection, by Miraz
Article by Mike Salway (iceman). Discuss this Article on the IceInSpace Forum.
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