Australian Antarctic Magazine — Issue 6: Autumn 2004

Total eclipses in Antarctica — how rare are they?

On average, a total solar eclipse is visible from some part of the globe every 16 months or so. Since 1900 there have been 10 total eclipses having at least some part of their path south of 60°S, and of these seven had paths which intersected the Antarctic continent. One of these eclipses was significant for Tasmanians. On 9 May 1910 a total eclipse crossed the Antarctic coast where Casey is today, and passed over southern Tasmania. It was cloudy in Hobart at the time, and coincidentally Halley’s comet reached its closest point to the Earth the following day. In more recent times, total eclipses occurred over the Antarctic region in 1957, 1967 and 1985. Despite the steady increase in Antarctic scientific exploration over these years, no observations of totality were attempted for the events owing to the unfavourable location of the eclipse paths.