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Total Solar Eclipse: November 13, 2012

Geographic Region: Australia, New Zealand, southern Pacific Ocean, southern South America
[Total: northern Australia, southern Pacific Ocean]

The second solar eclipse of 2012 occurs at the Moon's ascending node in central Libra. The path of the Moon's umbral shadow crosses the South Pacific Ocean where it makes no landfall except for northern Australia. The Moon's penumbral shadow produces a partial eclipse visible from a much larger region covering the South Pacific (including Australia and New Zealand), southern South America, and part of Antarctica.

The central eclipse path begins in Australia's Garig Ganak Barlu National Park in the Northern Territory about 250 kilometers east of Darwin at 20:35 UT. Traveling southeast, the umbral shadow quickly crosses the Gulf of Carpentaria and reaches the Cape York Peninsula at 20:37 UT.

The first and only populated region in the path lies along the east coast of Queensland. Gateway to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is about 30 kilometers south of the central line. Its residents and visitors will enjoy an early morning total eclipse lasting 2 minutes with the Sun just 14° above the eastern horizon. Observers on the central line can eek out another 5 seconds of totality, but local weather conditions will play a far greater role in choosing a viewing site than a few seconds of totality.

After leaving Australia, the umbral shadow glides over the ocean, undisturbed by further landfall for the remainder of its track. Greatest eclipse occurs in the South Pacific at 22:11:48 UT. At this instant, the axis of the Moon's shadow passes closest to Earth's centre. The maximum duration of totality is 4 minutes 2 seconds, the Sun's altitude is 68°, and the path width is 179 kilometers. Continuing across the vast South Pacific, the umbral shadow's path ends about 800 kilometers west of Chile at 23:48 UT. Over the course of 3.1 hours, the Moon's umbra travels along a path approximately 14,500 kilometers long covering 0.46% of Earth's surface area.

This is the 45th eclipse of Saros 133 (Espenak and Meeus, 2006). The series began on 1219 Jul 13 with the first of 13 partial eclipses. The first annular eclipse was non-central and occurred on 1435 Nov 20. Five more annular eclipses followed until a hybrid eclipse on 1544 Jan 24. Subsequent eclipses in the series have been total with a steadily increasing duration of totality until the peak duration of 6 minutes 50 seconds was reached on 1850 Aug 07. The duration of totality has been decreasing since then. The remaining 20 total eclipses will see totality drop to below 2 minutes. The series ends with a set of 7 partial eclipses the last of which occurs on 2499 Sep 05. In all, Saros 133 produces 12 partial, 6 annular, 1 hybrid, 46 total, and 24 partial eclipses, in that order.

 

Eclipse map and predictions courtesy of Fred Espenak - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.
For more information on solar and lunar eclipses, see Fred Espenak's Eclipse Home Page:

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html

 

 

 

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