Australian eclipses: the Western Australian eclipse of 1974 and the East Coast eclipse of 1976

Lomb, Nick (2021) Australian eclipses: the Western Australian eclipse of 1974 and the East Coast eclipse of 1976. Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, 24 (2). pp. 475-497. ISSN 1440-2807

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Abstract

In 1974 and 1976 total eclipses of the Sun were visible from Australia for the first time in over 50 years. For the 1974 eclipse only the northern limit of totality touched land and observers were scattered across the few towns along the south-west coast of Western Australia. Clouds disturbed most scientific observations, while two rocket flights with instruments to image the Sun in ultraviolet light failed to obtain useful results. However, some amateur astronomers were fortunate with the weather at their locations so that they could observe the totally eclipsed Sun. The eclipse was notable for a viewing flight on a Boeing 727 passenger aircraft organised by an American travel company. This was the first commercial eclipse flight. The 1976 eclipse attracted many scientists, both local and from overseas, who mainly gathered in the NSW town of Bombala. Once again, clouds prevented observations. Unusually, the path of totality included the major city of Melbourne with its almost three million inhabitants. To try to prevent eye damage, the authorities encouraged the population to stay indoors during the eclipse and only watch on television. They were generally successful, though with the consequence that millions of people missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime chance to view a total eclipse from their own backyards.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences - Centre for Astrophysics (1 Aug 2018 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences - Centre for Astrophysics (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2021 01:56
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2021 01:56
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1974 total eclipse, 1976 total eclipse, solar filters, eye damage, commercial eclipse flight
Fields of Research (2008): 02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020199 Astronomical and Space Sciences not elsewhere classified
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Fields of Research (2020): 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4303 Historical studies > 430302 Australian history
51 PHYSICAL SCIENCES > 5101 Astronomical sciences > 510199 Astronomical sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1399 Other culture and society > 139999 Other culture and society not elsewhere classified
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280120 Expanding knowledge in the physical sciences
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/42852

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