On the road: The Great Dreamtime Solar Eclipse

Posted by David Eicher
on Friday, November 02, 2012

Uluru panorama // Credit: Wikimedia Commons
As most of you know, the biggest observational event of the year is fast approaching. On Wednesday, November 14, a total eclipse of the Sun will wash over Australia and the South Pacific and bathe the inhabited parts (northeastern Australia) with almost exactly 2 minutes of totality. Thousands of eclipse chasers are now going to the region. Among those travelers are Senior Editors Michael Bakich, Rich Talcott, and me.

I’ll be leaving tomorrow afternoon and will fly from Milwaukee to Los Angeles to Brisbane to Darwin, where our magazine trip commences. Some 200 readers will join Rich and me for our 13-day trek that will carry us around the land Down Under. Michael will be on a separate excursion; all three of us will be reporting on the big event from the field as frequently as we can.

The magazine’s trip, in partnership with Melita Thorpe of MWT Associates, will begin at Darwin and include days of adventure and exploration as well as astronomy. We’ll hike through Kakadu National Park World Heritage Site, take the fancy Ghan train south to Alice Springs, explore and observe at Ayers Rock, walk through aboriginal sites at Kata Tjuta and Walpa Gorge, discover Sydney and its magnificent harbor, snorkel and scuba in the Great Barrier Reef, cruise on the Daintree River, wander through rain forests and across beaches, and set off on a crocodile adventure.  

For Rich and I, our arm of the trip will feature talks by three astronomers: SETI’s  Seth Shostak on sending signals into space, Bill Sheehan on the eclipse itself, and me on the latest developments in astronomy, planetary science, and cosmology. Some other friends and Astronomy contributors will be along too, including David Levy and Dennis Mammana.

We’ll end up at Cairns (pronounced “cans”), where we’ll explore the area and witness the eclipse from Green Island, just off the coast.

Stay tuned: As soon as I recover from traveling the 9,329 miles, I’ll be in touch.

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