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Published on Nov 13, 2012
A total solar eclipse plunged northern Queensland into darkness for two minutes, delighting crowds packed on the beach in Cairns.
Australians donned protective glasses as the clouds parted to allow them to witness one of nature's greatest phenomena -- a total eclipse of the sun.
All eyes and cameras turned to the heavens over tropical north Queensland as the moon began moving between the Earth and the sun, like a small bite which gradually increases in size. Cloud cover threatened to spoil the party and huge cheers erupted when they parted to give tens of thousands of eclipse hunters a perfect view of totality -- when the moon completely covers the sun and a faint halo or corona appears. The path of the eclipse got under way shortly after daybreak when the moon's shadow, or umbra, fell in the Garig Gunak Barlu National Park in the Northern Territory, about 155 miles east of Darwin. The umbra then moved eastward before alighting in north Queensland -- one of the few places it could be viewed by humans and where tourists and scientists flocked to witness the region's first total solar eclipse in 1,300 years.
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