Down Under Solar Eclipse

December 09, 2002


Provided by: NASA
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster, NASA/GSFC

On Wednesday, December 4, as seen on the above photo, many people in southern Australia received a rare 32-second celestial treat as the Moon completely obscured the Sun. This total solar eclipse was also visible across portions of southern Africa, but in most places clouds ruined the spectacle. Aside from the fact that total solar eclipses are awe-inspiring to those fortunate enough to witness them, they provide astronomers with an unique opportunity to study the Sun’s corona - it's outer atmosphere. The next total solar eclipse will occur in 2003 but will be observable only in Antarctica, and the next total solar eclipse visible in parts of North America won't occur until 2006.

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