On Wednesday 14 November 2012 a solar eclipse was partially viewable in Brisbane, Australia. We only got 84% coverage (100% in Cairns). The eclipse lasted from about 6-8 am. Weiss made a viewing tube and projection sheet and we took a camera but didn’t get any good photos as we didn’t have a solar film or some other means of removing most of the light from the sun (other than allowing the moon to partially obscure it).
Click the pictures for the bigger versions.
I remember watching the transit of Venus earlier from QUT. The Physics discipline had some solar filter sunglasses that looked like 3D glasses and had also set up some telescopes with solar film over the lens to give a closer look at the rare transit. I went downstairs to see the optics people yesterday but they didn’t have anything that they could give me.
While astronomy’s not a field I’m interested in as an academic pursuit, it’s still an amazing branch of science that allows us to know a lot about the universe in which we live. I know a handful of people who made the trek to Cairns to see the total eclipse and I’m sure they got some wonderful shots. Apparently something like 60,000 people made the trip.
Probably my fondest astronomy memory is going out with my youngest brother to a trip organised by the CSIRO education unit (Brisbane). We spent an evening in Indooroopilly looking up at the stars and planets, ably led by one of the science educators and his collection of telescopes. Some of the telescopes were programmable so you could track objects; one of his telescopes was a collaborative project with a group of high school students who built a working telescope out of wood, glass and mirrors.
Space is pretty cool. That humans have managed to explore so much of it from our vantage point here on Earth is awesome. That we have detected cosmic background radiation left over from the Big Bang is astonishing. That we have put men on the moon, sent satellites out past the planets of our own solar system and have put two rovers (mobile science labs, basically) on Mars blows my mind.