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Early in the morning of November 14, 2012, a total solar eclipse occurred over far north Queensland in Australia. This panorama was taken during the total phase of the eclipse. Unfortunately, the eclipse itself was obscured by cloud and we were unable to observe it. However, the experience of the world going dark for a couple of minutes was eerie and exhilarating! Note that all the way around the horizon is still bright, not like a typical sunset. Also, Venus is visible between the clouds.
See the nearby panorama for the same view immediately before totality.
There are no kangaroos in Austria. We're talking about Australia, the world's smallest continent. That being cleared up, let's dive right in! Australia is a sovereign state under the Commonwealth of Nations, which is in turn overseen by Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth. The continent was first sighted and charted by the Dutch in 1606. Captain James Cook of Britain came along in the next century to claim it for Britain and name it "New South Wales." Shortly thereafter it was declared to be a penal colony full of nothing but criminals and convicts, giving it the crap reputation you may have heard at your last cocktail party. This rumor ignores 40,000 years of pre-European human history, especially the Aboriginal concept of Dreamtime, an interesting explanation of physical and spiritual reality. The two biggest cities in Australia are Sydney and Melbourne. Sydney is more for business, Melbourne for arts. But that's painting in very broad strokes. Take a whirl around the panoramas to see for yourself! Text by Steve Smith.