Enthusiasts head to Australia for November eclipse

The upcoming solar eclipse in November has seen enthusiasts packing their bags for Australia.

This year, a solar eclipse is scheduled for November 14, and Australia is said to offer one of the best vantage points for those wishing to experience one of the world’s most unique phenomena. Shortly after dawn on November 14, watchers in northern Australia will be rewarded with the sight of the moon passing in front of the sun, plunging the surroundings into darkness.

Those wishing to view the event from across the Coral sea should be in place by 6:39am local time. If the skies are clear, watchers will be able to see the progress of the moon’s black disk with the sun’s glowing corona stretching beyond it. The darkness resulting from a total eclipse of the sun is expected to last just over two minutes.

It is expected that more than 50,000 tourists, about a half of them from foreign nations, will travel to Australia to see the eclipse. Most are expected to camp in the Cairns-Port Douglas area in Queensland. Those visitors staying in resorts are advised to travel to a viewing site, as it is unusual for a total eclipse to be visible from a resort area. Hotel bookings have peaked in the best viewing areas, with some hotels having been fully booked for November 14 for three years. About 5,000 tourists will stay in camper vans and makeshift accommodation.

Some visitors have been particularly innovative, having made arrangements to view the eclipse from boats, trains and special positions on land. Some have even planned to take to the skies using hot air balloons. It is also expected that tourists will visit other part of Australia once the event is over.

Nearby places of interest include Sydney, Kakadu National Park, Yellow Water Billabong, Nourlangie Rock and the ancient rock site of Uluru.

A regular visitor to eclipse events said, ‘Everyone gets really quiet. After people start seeing it for a few seconds, they start screaming and crying. When it’s over, the party starts. People start dancing and singing.’

The next eclipse will see enthusiasts flocking to Morocco.