Gallery: Ooh, aah, what a star

OOHS, aahs and wows were common on Eastern Hill early yesterday as a spectacular light show played out.

GALLERY: Click or flick through the above photos to see full gallery of reader photos and local stargazers (iPhone app users can use the 'Photos' tab).

Dozens of people made the most of the Border’s clear skies to watch a partial eclipse of the sun through telescopes.

The maximum eclipse of 58 per cent happened at 7.12am.

The viewing was run by the Astronomical Society of Albury-Wodonga, but it had to do so without president, David Thurley.

He was a few thousand kilometres north — at Mount Carbine Hotel west of Port Douglas — watching a total eclipse.

“Every time I see it I’m just amazed at what you see,” he said.

“This is the fourth for me and you just can’t keep in your mind that sudden thing when it happens — the totality of it.

“The sky goes a strange colour, everything goes dark and then there’s an eerie glow from the sun.

“Even in two minutes everything is significantly cooler — five to 10 degrees.”

The total eclipse witnessed by thousands of people in far north Queensland lasted about two minutes.

The moon cleared the sun within an hour.

Society member Trisha Lynch said the young and the old enjoyed the Eastern Hill viewing, with many children dressed ready for school.

“We had an awesome time,” she said.

“About 50 people viewed it.

“I even took a bit of cardboard with a pinhole in it with a bit of white paper so people could see it the old-fashioned way as well.

“I thought it was pretty good but not as good as the transit of Venus, — that was pretty spectacular,” she said.

She said a highlight was seeing flares on the sun and sun spots on some telescopes.

Eclipses gave scientists their best chance to study the corona, the immensely hot outer atmosphere of the sun that boils off into space.

The sun’s brightness means they can usually view only parts of the corona.

Mrs Lynch said the society loved sharing such events with the public.

“I get a bit of a buzz when people look through the telescope and go “oh wow”. I think it’s amazing myself,” she said

Mr Thurley said he watched the eclipse with about 50 people near the pub and there were “a couple of thousand” people in nearby streets.

Mr Thurley said the eclipse was close to the best astronomical event anyone could witness.

“That totality — you can look at it with the naked eye — you don’t need a telescope, you don’t need anything, and you will see this eerie sight,” he said.

“We were lucky. The clouds moved away and we saw the total eclipse for the whole two minutes and we saw a fair bit of the partial stages.

“It really was just magnificent.”

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