Rare full solar eclipse in Australia

Wednesday 14 November 2012 21.10
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The eclipse as seen from Palm Cove, north of Cairns
The eclipse as seen from Palm Cove, north of Cairns
Thousands of people gathered to watch the event, last seen in Australia in 2002
Thousands of people gathered to watch the event, last seen in Australia in 2002
Shadow began to fall moments before totality
Shadow began to fall moments before totality

A rare full solar eclipse plunged north Queensland into darkness for two minutes early this morning local time.

Thousands of people had gathered on the Australian state's beaches to witness the event.

In Cairns, the main city in north Queensland and a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, cloudy skies and occasional rain partly obscured the view, but elsewhere viewing conditions were more favourable.

North Queensland's tourism body and NASA provided a live stream of the eclipse, which was expected to give a $75m (€61m) boost to the region's tourism industry.

Many people travelled from around the country and overseas to catch the best view of the celestial show.

Authorities warned spectators to wear safety goggles, noting the sun remains incredibly powerful even when hidden behind the moon.

While north Queensland was treated to a full eclipse, a partial eclipse was visible in other parts of Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Antarctica.

The last full solar eclipse visible from Australia was in 2002, an event that was only visible in the nation's south.

The next one, to be visible from Sydney, is not due until 2028.

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