SAROS Expedition 2012

Total Solar Eclipse

14/11/2012 , Maitland Downs, Australia


Event: Total Solar Eclipse

Start of expedition : November 5, 2012

End of expedition : November 17, 2012

Place: Maitland Downs, Australia.

Geographical coordinates: 16º 13' 25.3 " S _ _ _ _ _ 144º 42' 46" E


Number of observers : 3

Francisco A. Rodriguez Oscar Martín Mesonero Antón Fernández


General Terms
11/14/2012 in Australia
Total solar eclipse
133, Member 45 of 72
Previous: 3/11/1994 _ Next: 11/25/2030
Conditions in Maitland Downs
4.9km to the center line
Looks like
05:39_ _ _ _ Height -0.2 º
First contact
05:44:23 _ _ Height 00.2 º
Second contact
06:37:42 _ _ Height 12.4 º
06:38:45 _ _ Height 12.7 º
2 minutes 1 second
Thirh contact
06:39:43 _ _ Height 12.9º
Fourth contact
07:38:56 _ _ Height 26.3º



The observation of this eclipse has been more complicated than expected. Luckily, just over 2 years before we started programming tasks and situation analysis. A hard work of more than two years to plan the trip well and escape routes in case of cloudiness.

Initially, meteorological statistics offered a 60% chance of overcast skies on the morning of the eclipse. But the reality was that most of the coast of Cairns and surrounding cloud cover was 80% and some, hopefully, could see part of the whole, while others not so fortunate missed the eclipse.

We, as the previous days watching clouds evolve, we decided to rotate inward to some of the areas that previously had pe-selected for the possible observation of the eclipse.

Two days before we walked through the roads and "testing" of new locations. During the tests we found some pretty nice places, such as a lookout to the mountains where all would be well centered.

Finally, we reached the place we had looked two years ago, Maitland Downs, and upon arrival we knew this was the place. The perfect place to observe the eclipse. The site was inhabited by termite nests amid tree-lined esplanade and, between us and the Sun, the silhouette of the mountains. Moreover, to our surprise, we find some leafless trees we wanted to use to give a special touch to the framing of the photographs. Even this site was the least wind presented, which is important for guiding telescopes and cameras.

So if there was no change in the weather forecast, it would be our vantage point, considering that if clouds could move to another place we had identified and which had a list of distances and times to come. Thanks God, there was not necesary.

The day before the eclipse, after getting up, freshen up and prepare the bags, we headed Maitland Downs, along the way we ran eclipse chasers in some of the places we had selected and they were off the main road. Not only those, but we saw many cars parked on esplanades and had holes near the road. The farsighted people had traveled to the interior, like us. Thousands of people were on the coast or inland sites and failed to see the total eclipse.

We continue our way up to the observation site.Given the number of people displaced, did not know if would have occupied our site, but luckily he was separated from the road and could not see, so unless you were there live, was not easy.

Once we arrived, we saw that it was completely empty.Shortly before sunset, came a caravan of a German car that went through there by chance, looking desperately sites. They loved the place and decided to stay with us, yes, something further back to avoid disturbing the observations.

With the twilight began to mount equipment on the esplanade and looked for a place to locate specific motifs (trees, mountains, etc ...) within the framework of the objectives and cameras. So we stand Anton, after Frank Oscar and finally, in a sort of parallel to the eclipse. Since it was a lot of equipment, we quickly ran out of light to mount and we had to do to help us light mobile phone. Already in very low light, align the cameras and lenses for phonecalls all the same site and when it got dark, we align with the South Pole (or so we believe, as it is difficult to align the South Pole for the first time).

When almost no sunlight, we begin to see the Milky Way shining in the sky, along with the two Magellanic Clouds and a large, bright zodiacal light. The show was so nice that we were almost all night watching the sky, both naked eye and with binoculars.With them, the Magellanic Clouds were seen in three dimensions, and we could see many deep sky objects. We also took advantage of the night to shoot deep sky with cameras, but did not take much, since at first tracking mount was not too good and the pictures came out blurred, another reason not to take lots of pictures was we had to book the mount batteries and cameras for what really matters, the eclipse of the sun, so we decided to turn off the saddle and enjoy the sky with the naked eye. During the time we were watching, we saw several shooting stars, some very nice and even got to see a fireball that lit up the ground and a blue sky.

As a couple of hours before dawn lit the saddle again and try to get a picture. This time the mount worked well and we get a wonderful picture of the Eta Carinae nebula. Latest photos of this nebula coincided with the twilight, so we could not take shots of other objects.

Gradually, sunlight illuminating the sky would "disappear" the stars while it was turning a pinkish color and then going to blue.

Wednesday November 14:

Gradually the dusk came and we started to finalize details of the mounts. We had to move the saddle a little as we wanted take some pictures of the eclipse with a tree background. Almost without realizing it dawned, although we did not see, as the nearby mountains we limited visibility. Within minutes the partial eclipse began, even with the sun behind the mountains. At 06:00 sunrise was imminent and sunlight flooded the valley. Two minutes later we saw a beautiful sunrise live with the sun eclipsed and leaving behind the mountains.The picture was very nice, I could see the sun using a sunscreen, and it drew the outline of the distant trees of a mountain.

The excitement was increasing with each passing minute. The sky was clear except for some small cirrus clouds near the horizon, nothing to do with the pessimistic forecasts of the last days. This is the only eclipse since 2006 that we have enjoyed in all its glory without having to be aware of the clouds.

According progressed all the cameras and telescopes were doing their job.

The first part of the bias flew by. When we look at the clock and minutes remaining for all. The landscape had a metallic color and the sky was becoming darker and bluer. Almost without realizing it got to the last two minutes. At that time we started to remove the filters and prepare video cameras.

A half minute of all we were enjoying the eclipse correctly. The light fell sharply and we could see the shadow bands perfectly. Snake seemed shadows moving across the floor with ripples. This eclipse I have seen shadow bands for the first time and, frankly, I was surprised, because I was waiting. While I was looking at the horizon suddenly appeared and were very clearly. And then ... came the first diamond ring. Spectacular!, bailey's beads and suddenly appeared the solar corona.

And a crown was not spectacular like nothing I've seen before. The crown was brighter than other areas and was very irregular, I had the symmetry of the above.The plumes were large and very long and you could see the chromosphere without problems. For almost the entire time I was enjoying the whole crown with binoculars offering an even more spectacular because you allowed to watch endless details of the crown and some small bumps. It also gave me time to watch the sky around us. You could see some bright stars in the sky and the planet Venus. The birds in the area were completely altered, issuing all kinds of songs. The truth is that it was amazing to see nature acting. Almost without realizing it, the total eclipse announced an end. The edge of the solar disk brightness began to win and showed the chromosphere with some small lumps of pink to red. Then came the second diamond ring, even more spectacular than the last, and burst into cheers. It was really wonderful. Even after all were elated by the event that had just seen from a beautiful place, accompanied by local fauna, termite mounds and trees that gave a special touch to the eclipse.

During the second part of the bias came the hugs between the members of the expedition, we took the obligatory pictures of the group posing with telescopes, we were reviewing some of the photographs and emocionándonos to see them.

Another remarkable thing was the total absence of wind during the eclipse.

Also approached the only two people who were watching the eclipse near us and found the site by chance. The day before, when they were looking for areas of observation, we exchanged opinions, reports and emails.

Then continue with the bias until it ended. Then we started to dismantle all equipment, so it took a while, and we parted the place.

We left base camp at about 10 km to the north where a camp was to observe the eclipse and was attended by about 14,000 people.The purpose was to "catch" wifi phone connection, since from our hubicacion coverage and there had not installed a repeater.

On the way we surprised a small tornado that formed near the road and was moving toward her, and just then I go through the car. It was a matter of seconds since I saw appear until you crossed, not even had time to stop. The small tornado had dust and leaves, was pleasingly through.

We parked near the camp and we were eating something while making the website.During that time police officers approached and asked if we were going south or north, as they were to cut the road in minutes. We told them that we were going south, but not yet. A few minutes later we saw a helicopter appear emergencies that landed about 100 meters from us, in full ra reel. It was spectacular to watch as landing between the police cars in a conventional road just two lanes. Rose leaves and dust upon arrival. After landing attended a person and put him in the helicopter. After that we do not expect much, we finished eating and start the car to return to Cairns.

During the return trip we stopped at Mareeba to eat something in the McDonald's and continued until shortly after arriving at Cairns. We went to the hotel and went to bed early because we were tired.

Photos: The photos in this section were provided by the authors, Oscar Martin, Francisco A. Ramirez y Antón Fernández.

Map of Australia which is marked the path of totality. Courtesy GoogleEarth and Javier Xubier
Area centered entirely in australia our vantage point.Courtesy GoogleEarth and Javier Xubier
Place from where we watched the eclipse. Courtesy GoogleEarth


Overview of the observation area as we began to assemble the equipment even with the sun above the horizon. Photo courtesy of Frank


Two moments of dawn, with the sun eclipsed and the branches of the trees. Photo by Oscar Martin


Baily's Beads at second contact
Baily's Beads at second contact
Baily's Beads at second contact. Photo by Oscar Martin
Baily's Beads at second contact. Photo by Oscar Martin
Chromosphere of the second contact. Photo by Oscar Martin
Chromosphere of the third contact. Photo by Oscar Martin
Chromosphere and inner corona second contact. Photo by Oscar Martin
Outer corona. Photo by Oscar Martin
Totality in the valley. Photo by Oscar Martin
Once in a lifetime ... Total Solar Eclipse November 14, 2012 (sign on the central line). Frank Frank
Corona next to the branches of a tree. Photo by Oscar Martin
Solar Corona. Photo by Oscar Martin
Processing of the solar corona from 35 fotografía.s Photo by Oscar Martin
Processing of the solar corona from 19 photographs. Photo by Oscar Martin
Third contact.Photo by Oscar Martin
Third contact.Photo by Oscar Martin
Diamond Ring of third contact. Photo by Oscar Martin
Diamond Ring of third contact. Photo by Oscar Martin
Diamond Ring of third contact. Photo by Oscar Martin
Second contact with Samsung camcorder. Photo by Oscar Martin
Phase nearly 4 partial contact where you can see sunspots this day. Photo by Oscar Martin
Solar disk once the eclipse was finish. Photo by Oscar Martin
Oscar in full observation task. Photo courtesy of Anton
Óscar hard at work.
Making an interview
Enjoying the eclipse
Oscar posing with the partial eclipse (photo courtesy of Frank)
Anton made the Pinhole.
The expeditionairs, Frank, Antón and courtesy of Frank
3D pictures of the total eclipse. To properly visualize 3D glasses red and cyan.In the right eye and put the red on the left Cyan
3D image of the eclipse crossed eyes with vision. To view the image in 3D you have to cross your eyes until a en el medio. in the medium. If you can not at first, try it from further away
3D image of the eclipse crossed eyes with vision. To view the image in 3D you have to cross your eyes until a en el medio. in the medium. If you can not at first, try it from further away

Photographs of the blue box courtesy of Francisco A. Rodrigez Ramirez. (

Baily's Beads 2nd contact
Corona medium
Inner Corona
Diamond Ring 3rd contact
Diamond Ring 3rd contact


A few seconds after the second contact. Photo courtesy of Francisco A. Rodriguez Ramirez
Maximum eclipse . Photo courtesy of Francisco A. Rodriguez Ramirez
A few seconds before the third contact. Photo courtesy of Francisco A. Rodriguez Ramirez


Picture taken from the video that recorded Francisco A. Rodriguez Ramirez during totality with a Full HD camera. In the picture you can distinguish the solar corona, as well as the planets Venus and Saturn and the star Spica. To see the image if ntext , pulsar aquí



Overview observation area during the eclipse partial phase
Overview of the observation area just minutes after the end of the eclipse




Video summary of the expedition. We recommend watching the video in HD and full screen
Sequence from sunrise to eclipse totality. With images taken from the Canon EOS 50D
Aparition of SAROS group in Antena 3 television.


Instruments used for observing the eclipse : Oscar: Telescope ED80 + Canon EOS 50D, Canon EOS 550 + 28-300 lens, 3 full HD video cameras, GoPro, Samsung camcorder mini DV: Anton: Marcos Frank, refractor telescope 90/800 doubler more focal, camcorder, compact photo.


Weather conditions during the eclipse: Clear, except a small cirrus not bothered at all by the observation of the eclipse. We had no wind during the eclipse. After the eclipse, some light wind blew, but during it, nothing


Summary of environmental measures : Courtesy of Xose Antón Fernández Villanueva.

With a sky almost clear in full, except for a thin cirrus clouds to the east, and a visible horizon in 360 degrees, no more lift than some distant mountains that delayed sunrise behind them, the conditions for the registration of luminosity during this eclipse were optimal. And this is reflected in the graphs of natural light and ultraviolet with his classic V-shaped during a total eclipse and its vertex located at the instant of maximum concealment at 6:37:41.
Measurements begin at 5:30 am local-ten minutes before sunrise-and brightness will gradually increase because of the higher elevation of the Sun above the horizon, even though the partial occultation of the solar disk that follows C1 first contact.
Around 6:04 the sun begins to peek over the mountains and the luminosity increases sharply for a few seconds to continue with the same slope above until 6:16:26.At this time the altitude of the sun is 7.6 ° and its concealment is 61%, increasing its elevation and light loss concealment trends and match the brightness begins to fall for 21 'to the time of maximum hiding there. The second tranche of bias, between C3 and C4 contacts, is characterized by a rapid and gradual lumiosidad, almost constant slope for the most part, to moderate its rise again from the end of the lunar transit.
The records were made with the daylight sensor directed to the zenith and the sun ultraviolet AB
Due to the low elevation of the sun during the eclipse in our observation, there were no significant changes in either temperature (around 23 ° C) or in the already high relative humidity around 80%. It is in those total eclipses the Sun close to its highest point and high temperatures when the differences can exceed 13 ° C in just 15 'causing a sensation of intense cold.

Instrumentation used :
1336A Light Meter for white light
UV34 Light Meter for UV A and B light

Graphics courtesy of Xose Antón Fernández Villanueva


Links to published stories :

Salamanca 24 horas digital news paper
Antena 3 televisión Thw Weather (parts 2 and 3)
Epolitica Internacional Link pre-eclipse


*** Both the photographs and videos throughout this document are the property of OASE and / or SAROS and its authors, is strictly forbidden to copy and / or use without express written permission of the owners or association

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