SYDNEY (November 14, 2012)--Tens of thousands of scientists, tourists and amateur astronomers watched in awe Wednesday as a total solar eclipse turned day into night for about two minutes in northern Australia.
Stubborn clouds that many feared would ruin the view parted enough in north Queensland to defy predictions of a total eclipse-viewing bust.
Spectators whooped and clapped with delight as the moon passed between the sun and Earth, leaving a slice of the continent's northeast in sudden darkness.
Skygazers crowded along palm-fringed beaches, fields and cliff tops to watch the event through protective viewing glasses and homemade pinhole cameras that projected the sun's image onto makeshift screens.
Fitness fanatics gathered for the Solar Eclipse Marathon, in which the first rays of the sun re-emerging from behind the moon served as the starting gun.
Some began partying days ago at a week-long eclipse festival.
The next total solar eclipse won't happen until March 2015.