Total solar eclipse 2002 December 4

in South Australia

Location Report for the Woomera Prohibited Area

woomera to koolymilka

Click here to download a high-resolution version of this map (2.1MB zip).

If you have come directly to this page from another website; you can find my other eclipse information here.

WARNING SIGN You may also find some of the images and descriptions in the Roxby Road and Stuart Highway Location Reports to be useful.

The site managers of the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) advise all eclipse visitors that:

Therefore the map provided here is limited to showing you the location of the designated eclipse viewing site (shown in purple) near Koolymilka. This is close to centreline on a treeless stony plain, and reached by a 48 km bitumen road from Woomera.

Note that any tour operators who claim to have arranged their own "exclusive" or "private" eclipse viewing area within the WPA are either (a) telling lies, or (b) unaware of the WPA access controls, or (c) they're going to the designated viewing site anyway, and haven't told you....

Eclipse times (Australian Central Summer Time) for the viewing site are: first contact 18:42:13, TOTALITY (26.4 seconds) from 19:40:53 to 19:41:19. At totality the Sun will be 6 degrees above the horizon at bearing 248 degrees (west-southwest); and will set - still 40 percent partially eclipsed - at about 20:16.

For further information about all eclipse-related activities within the WPA, contact the local organiser, Linda Biddau (linda dot biddau at baesystems dot com).

gibber stones

These images (left) were taken from the boundary of the WPA to give you some idea of the terrain. They were taken on a cloudy day in mid-winter; so the sunlight is MUCH less intense than what is expected for eclipse day.

the donga...
regolith The Woomera region has been continuously eroded for more than 500 million years, and during the last 50 million years has changed from a wet temperate woodland into a desert. Much of today's land surface consists of a deeply weathered regolith covered either by small sand dunes, or by extensive swathes of gibber stones as shown here (with a Nokia 5110 mobile phone for scale). These silicified rock fragments become concentrated on the surface by the desert winds (and occasional floods) removing all finer material from around them. This surface has low mechanical cohesion; so conventional vehicles driven carelessly can get bogged in it even when it's dry. When it's wet, just about any wheeled vehicle can get bogged in it. Driving over gibber stones at speed will throw up rocks which may cause significant underbody damage to your car - for example its brake hoses and fuel lines - or cause multiple tyre punctures. The tripods of heavy telescopes and cameras will also sink into this surface; so I suggest that you bring some bricks or planks to put under your tripod's feet. Click here to display a high-resolution version of this image.

Copyright © 2002   Fraser Farrell. All rights reserved.