There was a total eclipse of the sun today (Wednesday morning over much of its path), visible only from a narrow strip that began in northern Australia and stretched across the southern Pacific. North America is missing it entirely.
Unless you watch on your computer.
We now have video from near Cairns, Australia, one of the few places on dry land where people could gather to watch the two minutes of totality. It’s courtesy of Slooh, a website that offers live coverage of astronomical events.
Before and after totality, if the weather cooperates, the sun appears as a crescent, with its face partly blocked by the moon’s disc. During totality, the air cools, the winds kick up, birds get upset, and stars come out.
NASA has posted more information from Fred Espanek, its resident eclipse expert. As they point out, the rules of orbital mechanics dictate that there must be between two and seven solar or lunar eclipses every year, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be in a place you can reach. Typically, any given spot on the planet gets a total solar eclipse only once every 375 years.
So be patient. If you had been there to see the eclipse yourself, there would have been all sorts of warnings about not looking directly into the sun — but it’s perfectly safe to look directly at your screen.