Total solar eclipse 2002 December 4

in South Australia

path of total eclipse in Australia

Update 2003 March 6 - This eclipse website received its 100,000th visitor (unique IP) earlier today. And if you wrote one of the 1000+ messages of appreciation received here so far; thanks!

Update December 12 - A new page containing my eclipse report with a few photos. More photos will be added when time permits.

This eclipse website will remain active, for historical purposes, but further updates (if any) will be low priority. As of today this website has received over 81,000 unique visitors (based on their IP addresses), including about 7,300 visitors on December 4 alone.

The other Australian total (and annular) eclipses for the 21st century are listed and mapped on this page.

Update December 7 - Now that the traffic to this site has fallen to manageable levels, it has been moved back to my server.

I can now publicly reveal another Location Report which has been on this website for months: the one for Lake Everard. Those of you who actually went there for the eclipse will appreciate that if it had NOT been an unseasonably mild day (mid-20s degrees C) on December 4, then unprepared tourists could have easily died from heatstroke at this location.

Update December 6 - SUCCESS! I observed my 4th total solar eclipse, in a totally cloudless sky, from the desert between Lyndhurst and Lake Torrens. My children, observing their first total eclipse, have concluded that only one thing can outdo this event: a longer total eclipse... ;-)

Update November 30 - Many of you have been needlessly alarmed by the front page story in the Advertiser (SA's daily newspaper) today concerning the alleged dangers of using eclipse shades. In my opinion this article is misleading and defamatory - if you want to know the real facts about safe viewing of eclipses, read the Astronomical Society of South Australia's eclipse brochure (454kB PDF). Or read the eclipse safety information from the Professor of Optometry who is the undisputed world expert on this issue.

I also note that the Advertiser story includes a photo of 3 children using these "dangerous" products to look directly at the sun. If the "facts" of this story were true, then the photographer has just ruined these kids' eyes. Under Australian law this is reckless endangerment of minors, which is a criminal offence! Either the Advertiser doesn't really believe its own story, or its reporters should be kept away from children...

The reported ban on the sale of eclipse shades by the WA government is, in my opinion, a hysterical knee-jerk reaction based on their inadequate research. As recently as three weeks ago they apparently knew nothing about this event; according to several WA doctors who contacted me recently for safety advice! The WA government's reaction is also a complete contrast to the various southern African countries which saw a total eclipse less than 2 years ago, and which will also see this eclipse. Their governments have once again purchased huge quantities of eclipse shades for their citizens to use on December 4. Ask yourself; would they have done this twice in 2 years if they thought eclipse shades were dangerous?

As with most other products, eclipse shades are safe when used in accordance with the manufacturer's directions. Which are printed on every single pair; in accordance with British Standard EN169 and European Community Directive ("CE") 89/686/EEC. And in accordance with those standards, include warnings to inspect them before each use, not to use them if damaged, etc etc....

My children and I will be using our eclipse shades on December 4. Enough said.

Update November 28 - Additions to the photography page (link fixed).

Update November 26 - Most places that were selling eclipse shades have now SOLD OUT. Nobody will be ordering any more stocks because they won't get to Australia in time.
You MIGHT be able to buy them from the visitor information centres in Ceduna, Woomera, Roxby Downs and Leigh Creek - IF they still have any left!
If you are in Adelaide, Starfield Photographic will be selling their LAST STOCKS from a stall inside Westfield Marion shopping centre; from Thursday November 28 until SOLD OUT. Personal shoppers only. After this your only options will be to share a pair with someone, or pay the scalpers at the eclipse viewing sites.

Update November 22 - This website was temporarily moved to a server with 50 times more bandwidth for this period of exceptional traffic prior to the event! Thanks to VMP for this help.

The executive summary: A Total Solar Eclipse will be visible -- weather permitting -- from within a narrow path stretching from Ceduna to Cameron Corner, late afternoon 4th December 2002. Everywhere else in Australia will get a partial solar eclipse; but for the northern NSW and Queensland coastal regions the sun will set soon after their partial eclipse begins. If you want to know more, keep reading ;-)

What causes a Total Solar Eclipse? It's the Moon passing directly between the Earth and the Sun, thereby casting its shadow upon the Earth. Because of the Moon's orbital motion, its shadow travels rapidly across the daytime side of the Earth, tracing out a strip known as the eclipse path.
Anyone who is within the eclipse path at the appropriate time will see a Total Solar Eclipse -- weather permitting. The duration of total eclipse is zero at the edges of the path, increasing to a maximum at the centre of the path. Places near to, but outside the path will experience a deep partial solar eclipse (where a crescent of sun will still be visible). Places more distant will experience lesser degrees of partial eclipse, and places thousands of km away from the path may see no eclipse at all.

Sometimes the Moon is too distant for its shadow to reach the Earth's surface during the eclipse; so a ring of sun remains visible as an annular eclipse. And when the shadow of the Earth falls upon the Moon, we see a lunar eclipse.

Some of the information on this site is also being quoted (with my permission) on the Astronomical Society of South Australia eclipse pages, the Ceduna District tourism website, and some other places. I also note that many other places are plagiarising information from this site. You know who you why not be polite, admit where you got your facts from, and include a link back to this site? If you let me know you have done this, you get a mention in the links below. Thanks.

This site was last updated on 2002 Nov 30. Here's what's now available:

WARNING : The eclipse goes through regions that are ARID or are DESERTS. All lakes shown are salt, all watercourses shown are dry, and any water in tanks or stock watering troughs may be too saline (or polluted) to drink. In addition, most of Australia including the eclipse path is currently afflicted by severe drought. Carry your own water - MINIMUM 3 litres per person per day - at all times. The eclipse occurs in early summer. Daytime temperatures could go above 40 C. If your vehicle breaks down, or you get bogged, then STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE and seek shade close by. For example a tarpaulin anchored to the vehicle at one end, and to rocks or sandbags at the other end, provides shade. Even the cheap blue or green plastic tarps can be a lifesaver. Many people have died of thirst or heatstroke while trying to walk somewhere for help. It is much easier for any rescuers to spot a vehicle than a person. Solar UV radiation will be intense because of the Ozone Hole - you will get serious sunburn unless you are adequately protected.


further contributions welcome

Official weather forecasts for South Australia. Will include special forecasts and cloud prediction maps for the eclipse.

Astronomical Society of South Australia 2002 eclipse page.

South Australian Tourism Commission's 2002 eclipse page.

Ceduna District tourism website. Includes special sections about eclipse-related facilities and events at Ceduna; and advice to tourists.

Eyre Peninsula Tourism Association (Ceduna is considered part of Eyre Peninsula).

Eyre Regional Development Board 2002 eclipse page.

Flinders Ranges and Outback tourism.

Hawker district website.

Connecting the Continent includes images and VR tours of Lyndhurst, Leigh Creek and other towns in the region.

The official 2002 Year Of The Outback website includes information and links to many Outback places and events.

The NRMA travel report for Cameron Corner.

Solar Eclipse Tours

A listing of 2002 eclipse tours from all over the world.

Eye safety during a solar eclipse, written by Ralph Chou, who is both a Professor of Optometry and an eclipse enthusiast.

Eclipse information, including safety advice, from the professional astromomers of the International Astronomical Union's Commission 46.

Eclipse information from the Astronomical Society of Australia written by Martin George.

Starfield Scientific & Photographic Services are the Australian distributors for Rainbow Symphony Eclipse Shades (eclipse viewing glasses).

The SA Cancer Council has some excellent advice on protecting yourself from sunburn and heatstroke -- two major risks in the Outback.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service has some excellent general advice for Outback travellers.

Incidentally this eclipse also goes across southern Africa before it reaches here...

No list of eclipse links is complete unless it mentions Fred Espenak's eclipse home page.

Buying Your First Telescope in Australia.

Light Pollution in South Australia.

CANGAROO gamma ray telescope (near Woomera).

Ceduna radio telescope.

Copyright © 2002   Fraser Farrell. All rights reserved.
email: fraserf at internode . on dot net
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