A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves between the Sun and the Earth, fully blocking out the Sun. A surprisingly moving experience, some viewers feel unrestrained joy at the sight of totality, others feel an equally powerful sense of desolation. In 2012, a total eclipse starts in Australia's Northern Territory and crosses Queensland before disappearing over the Pacific, while June sees the extremely rare transit of Venus, where the planet can be seen moving across the face of the Sun, and is at least partly visible from several regions of the world. Depending on your location, during the hybrid (annual-total) eclipse of November 2013 you may see the Sun totally eclipsed by the Moon; locations within totality include the central and eastern Atlantic Ocean, Gabon, Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.
Experience this celestial moment and by doing so join the elite, 200-year-old 'eclipse-chasers' club. Packed with maps, weather conditions, photography tips, health and safety, this invaluable guide has everything to help you make the most out of this spectacular natural event.
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Sheridan Williams is an ex-rocket scientist and built his own telescope in 1966 and has since seen thirteen total eclipses and two annular eclipses. He is the Director of the Computing Section of the British Astronomical Association and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He regularly lectures on astronomy. In addition he is a volunteer at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.