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Eclipse in Ipswich ... and beyond

SKY SHOW: Ipswich astronomer Brendan Downs’ photo of the total eclipse taken from Clifton Beach, north of Cairns, just after the clouds parted.
SKY SHOW: Ipswich astronomer Brendan Downs’ photo of the total eclipse taken from Clifton Beach, north of Cairns, just after the clouds parted. Contributed

FROM those who went to the heart of the total eclipse to people who viewed it from their backyard, Ipswich sky-watchers were over the moon on Wednesday.

Ipswich astronomer Brendan Downs joined tens of thousands in Cairns waiting for the best view of the moon passing in front of the sun, blocking it and casting a shadow under its path.

Back home, hundreds looked to the sky from open spaces and higher places such as the Denmark Hill water tower.

Mr Downs and a group of friends started planning their Cairns trip 18 months ago, but things seemed set to go awry at the last minute.

"We arrived in Cairns on Saturday morning and began looking for observing sites," he said on Wednesday.

"We found a spot and spent a couple of days practising, setting up our equipment and working out what we were going to do.

"At 3.30 in the morning we claimed our spots and set up.

"Where we were at Clifton Beach, just north of Cairns, clouds had rolled in and a lot of the early part of the eclipse was clouded out.

"It look like we were going to miss the eclipse."

But just before totality, when the moon blocks the sun, the clouds cleared, revealing one of the most amazing sights in the natural world.

"As the moon went in front of the sun for the totality phase about 6.40am, there was a big black hole in the sky with a glow around it," Mr Downs said.

"Looking along the coast you could see thousands of people cheering and clapping and flash guns going off.

"Thirty seconds later the clouds would have blocked the view completely. It was truly one of the greatest sights in nature."

It was the second total eclipse Mr Downs had been under after seeing one from Ceduna, South Australia in 2002.

He found fame in sky-gazing circles by finding two supernovas.

DID you take a photograph of the eclipse in Ipswich on Wednesday morning? Is it better than the QT's photo? Post a picture of you and the eclipse in Ipswich on the QT Facebook page or email photos@qt.com.au and the QT will publish an Ipswich compilation. Alternatively, share your experience of the eclipse at Your Story.

Topics:  brendan downs, denmark hill, total solar eclipse


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