Eclipse countdown starts – 50 days to go
The countdown to the moment when Tropical North Queensland will be plunged into post-dawn darkness will start on Monday, with September 24 marking 50 days until the Solar Eclipse 2012.
Rob Giason from Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) and Inspector Mark Jackson from Queensland Police will join Cairns Mayor Bob Manning to officially start the countdown, by unveiling a banner displaying the number of days to go in Council’s Spence Street foyer.
The natural phenomenon will start at about 5.45am – depending on viewing location – on Wednesday, November 14.
The entire Cairns region will be in the path of totality, where the moon will pass entirely in front of the sun. The total eclipse will be seen just before 6.40am.
Mayor Bob Manning said this once in a lifetime event should be embraced by locals.
“This is an event that people from around the world will travel to see and we are lucky enough to have it literally in our own backyards,” Cr Manning said.
“That is why we are asking locals to think about staying home and enjoying the experience with their families and friends.
“The best seat in the house is your own – especially if you have a view of the sunrise.
“There will be a lot of visitors moving around and we want to make sure residents are safe. That means staying off the roads, if possible, and planning your own special morning.
“Maybe a champagne breakfast or early morning barbecue with your neighbours. Start planning now to make the most of this unique opportunity.’
TTNQ CEO Rob Giason’s said more than 50,000 people were expected to visit the Cairns region for the solar eclipse.
“This region is adventurous by nature and the solar eclipse will be the most exciting natural event for a long time,” Mr Giason said.
“TTNQ will be webcasting the event to the world to show them this amazing destination. We will be the official webcaster for NASA and UCLA at Berkley in the US.”
Inspector Jackson said police were preparing for a busy time on the roads.
“The Police Service is aware the eclipse provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to view an amazing natural phenomenon,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the popularity of the event is likely to cause us fairly significant traffic problems, particularly along the highway between Cairns and Port Douglas.
“We need people to do their research, listen to the information that will be released in the media, and plan to view the eclipse from somewhere safe that won’t add to the traffic problems.
Submit details of your eclipse event at Council’s eclipse event calendar.