Far Northern solar experience will eclipse the rest of the world
AT 6.38am today, the countdown starts for the biggest astronomical and tourist event in Cairns' history.
Exactly a year from today, the region will experience a total eclipse of the sun, and Advance Cairns will launch the countdown at Cairns Lagoon this morning.
This time next year, in Cairns and Port Douglas, the sun’s rays will be blocked by the moon for two minutes while at Mareeba it will be one minute 40 seconds and Atherton 30 seconds.
Estimates put the number of "eclipse chasers" from around the world coming to this region near 40,000. Many accommodation providers have been booked out for years.
The last total eclipse in Cairns was in 710AD and the next one will be on April 25, 2237.
Tourist and business leaders see the eclipse as a stunning opportunity.
"It will showcase our region to a lot of people who might not have come here for any other reason," Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Rob Giason said.
"We need to make sure we maximise these opportunities of really showcasing our region and really making sure people have a ‘Wow’ experience."
Advance Cairns corporate communications officer Juliana Doupe said people should start planning now where they were going to watch the eclipse.
"We don’t want 20,000 people deciding they want to go to the Rex Lookout to see the eclipse," Ms Doupe said.
If people could see the sun from their garden this morning, they would see the eclipse.
Ms Doupe said the event was going to be "absolutely massive" for the Cairns economy.
"We are expecting 40,000 visitors and we want them to come back," she said.
Meanwhile, Port Douglas’ Great Barrier Reef Ultra Marathon Festival at the weekend set pulses racing ahead of the Solar Eclipse Marathon next November 14.
Next year’s race will start when the sun’s rays emerge from the moon’s shadow – what the organisers are calling and intergalactic starting gun.
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The countdown is on: At 6.38am today, the countdown starts for the biggest astronomical and tourist event in Cairns' history.