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Canberrans may not have been treated to the spectacular total eclipse witnessed on the beaches of Cairns, but here in the capital there were still plenty of people gazing at the sky on Wednesday.
While not as rare as a total solar eclipse, the partial solar eclipse over Canberra still made for some impressive viewing.
Craig Bornholm, an IT worker from Gordon, said he was watching the eclipse on television with his three children, and thought he’d try his luck seeing the real thing from outside.
“We just sort of watched it over breakfast while we were getting ready,” Mr Bornholm said.
“I was just lucky enough to be able to see it from home.”
Mr Bornholm, who said he “dabbles” in landscape photography, grabbed his SLR camera and managed to snap a clear shot of the partial eclipse between the clouds.
He said his eldest son was the most excited about the rare phenomenon this morning.
“[It was] exciting that the kids were able to watch it as well on the TV,” Mr Bornholm said.
“They were quite interested in it, especially my eldest ... He’s in to space and astronomy like most 8 year olds.”
Mr Bornholm said he’d probably try his luck again with the camera the next time an eclipse comes around.
But just why did northern Queensland get the full light show, while Canberra only got a slice of it?
A total eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the earth and the sun.
At this time, both the sun and the moon - which is 400 times smaller than the sun, but 400 times closer to Earth - appear the same size in the sky while the moon casts a small, circular shadow on Earth.
Those lucky enough to be on the small strip of land over which this shadow is cast are able to see the solar eclipse in its entirety.
The shadow of Wednesday’s eclipse was about 140 kilometres wide. It began in the Northern Territory at sunrise, and crossed the top of far north Queensland before exiting the east coast between Innisfail and Port Douglas.
Conveniently cloud over the region was patchy on Wednesday morning and there were plenty of opportunities for people living there, particularly in northern Queensland, to see the full eclipse in all its splendour.
Cloud cover here in the capital was quite heavy, but some Canberrans were lucky enough to witness a partial eclipse through grey patches.
A spokeswoman from the Bureau of Meteorology in Canberra explained that cool sea breezes coming off the coast on Tuesday night were responsible for the moisture which formed the night’s cloud cover.
And although happenings outside the earth’s atmosphere are not strictly within the Bureau of Meteorology’s remit, the spokeswoman was happy to explain the reason we didn’t see the full eclipse was because Canberra did not fall directly under the path of the moon’s shadow, cast by the sun onto the earth on Wednesday morning.
“It’s all to do with position and timing, relative to the three bodies,” she said.
An easy way to understand is by imagining two people standing in direct sunlight facing the sun, she said.
If one person stands still and the other sits completely covered in their shadow, the second person will be unable to see the sun.
But if the second person moves so they’re partially within the shadow and partially in the sun, they’ll be able to see part of the sun.