Author: Frank Geefay
My wife and I went on a tour of Australia in November 2012 with MWT Associates, Inc. (Melita Wade Thorpe) Melitatrips Travel specializing and Astronomical tours. This is our 4th tour with them and actually the least enjoyable because it was one of the largest tours they had ever put on and coordination had something to be desired. Until this trip we had nothing but praise for their service. I guess the lesson is not to take large tours.
The highlight of the trip was the eclipse of the sun on November 14, 2012 on Green Island:
- 1st Contact 5:45am
- 2nd Contact: 6:38am Diamond Ring begins totality (Sun will be at 14 degrees)
- 3rd Contact: 6:40am Diamond Ring closes totality
- 4th Contact: 7:40am
We arrived at Green Island from Cairns by ferry at about 2:ooam to find a spot and set up. It was dark but we had all brought flashlights so we could more or less find a good spot along the narrow beach. When we arrived the tide was out and the coral beach extended out for about 75 yards. By the time we left around 7:50am the water was literally lapping at our feet.
Stills and video shots of the Total Eclipse of the Sun were taken from Green Island Australia on November 14, 2012. Though there were clouds in the sky the majority of the eclipse was relatively unobscured by them. We later hear that those who stayed in Cairns Australia about 25 miles from Green Island had cloudy weather that obscured the view of the eclipse. There was a 50-50% chance of cloud cover for Green Island. We lucked out. The eclipse started about 5:45am, entered totality at 6:38am, and ended at 7:40am local Green Island time.
I brought with me a Nikon D5100 SLR using a 55-300mm lens with a sun filter and a Panasonic V500 camcorder and two cheap and light weight tripods. I really didn’t have any experience taking eclipse photos at the time. The earlier half of the eclipse photos were taken in auto mode where the shutter speed was about 1/30 sec. so images were slightly blurred due to shaking while pressing the shutter button. The later darker images were taken in manual mode with 1/1000 shutter speed and are much sharper. I took about one photo every 5 min. and at totality switched to my camcorder. The tripod movement was jerky so it was difficult to keep it steady while taking photos and videos.
I was so busy taking photos that I really didn’t get a chance to enjoy the eclipse as did my wife. I didn’t really see how dark it got at totality though my feeling is that it was like being under a shade. It didn’t get really dark like in some eclipse where the moon is closer to the earth. The YouTube below is the results of all my efforts as a beginner. You can see some of the clouds that passed by. There was a short period that the sun was almost half obscured by clouds.