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redcentre Copley - A travel report by Mike
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Copley,  Australia - flag Australia -  South Australia
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redcentre's travel reports

Solar Eclipse, Dec. 4th 2002 ( near Copley )

  5 votes

Copley travelogue picture
Solar Eclipse, Dec. 4th 2002.
When the moon on it's path crosses between us ( earth ) and the sun, blotting out the light from the sun a Solar Eclipse occurs. The path of the moon and the sun don't often cross in a way that results in a Total Eclipse. There are many more partial eclipses than total eclipses.
When during a total eclipse the sun is completely covered it is called the Umbra. At it's distance from earth the Umbra is narrow and hence a total eclipse is only seen from a narrow corridor on earth.
Unlike lunar eclipses which can be seen wherever the Moon is above the horizon, Total Solar Eclipses can only be seen from this narrow corridor. The path of the Total Solar Eclipse on Dec. 4th 2002 begann west of Africa over the Atlantic Ocean. Then moving over Angola, Mozambique and the Indian Ocean and finally over South Australia.
At Ceduna, late in the afternoon (18:40:15) first contact was made and last contact there was at 19:40:42.

Favourite spots:
Copley travelogue picture
The duration of the Total eclipse at Ceduna was 32 seconds. Unfortunately it was overcast at Ceduna but the clouds luckily opened just enough to make oberving totality possible. Following along the path further inland the first contact was progressively later and the duration of the Total Eclipse was also progressively shorter.
At Cameron Corner first contact was at 18:44:44 and the duration of the Total Eclipse was approx. 12 seconds shorter than at Ceduna. Only two towns, Ceduna and Lyndhurst were directly in the path of the Total Eclipse and hence most observers were flogging to those destinations.
There were however many locations in the Outback, remote and well Off the Beaten Track from which the Total Eclipse could be observed, well away from the thousands of tourist.

We had started our trip a few days earlier from Melbourne, came along the Great Ocean Road, through the Barossa Valley and the Flinders Ranges and set up camp in Copley.

What's really great:
Copley travelogue picture
Nearby Lyndhurst was so 'thick' with people that it took us 20 minutes to travel the 300 m through the Town on the day before the Eclipse to check out the area I had selected for our viewing.
It was somewhere 'out there', on a Gibber plain where we then sat on the afternoon of Dec. 4th, feeding on camembert, crackers and other goodies and washing it down with a good wine which got a few days earlier on our way through the Barossa Valley.
When we surveyed our location, about 26 kms north-east of Lyndhurst the previous day we made darn sure that we were not observed as we turned off the Strzelecki Track, by the people in the 100's of cars who were all looking for their spot. It paid off and there was not another soul within Cooee.
Using a GPS we confirmed that we were right in the middle of the path.
As I had predicted, we had perfectly clear sky, not a cloud in sight and YES, it was HOT. 39C to be precise.

Copley travelogue picture
Flinders Ranges,
Gammon Ranges,
Talk Alf,

Copley travelogue picture
We had a perfect view of the Eclipse, from the start to Totality and then until sunset.
The duration of Totality at our location was 26 seconds.
Simply Magic!.
It was getting dark as we drove through deep sand and bulldust back to the Strzeleki Track on the way to our campsite in Copley.
The next day we continued on our journey, up the Oodnadatta Track, to Coober Pedy.
From there we then continued to Uluru, Kings Canyon, Palm Valley, Gosse Bluff Comet Crater, the West MacDonnell Ranges and finishing our trip in Alice Springs.

My tour participants came from Scotland, NZ and from England specifucally for the observation of the Eclipse.

During our trip we saw Koalas, Kangaroos, Emus, Dingoes, Wild Camel, Brumbies, Rock Wallabies, different Lizards, many differnt kind of Parrots, Cookatoos, and Honeyeater as well as many raptors such as Wedgetailed Eagles, Kites, Falcon and Hawks.

Leigh Creek Hotel, Copley

Copley Bush Backery

Other recommendations:
Ochre Quarries

Published on Wednesday January 8th, 2003

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Thu, Mar 02 2006 - 02:27 AM rating by rangutan

Great event and report, thanks!

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