SYDNEY (AP) â€” Tens of thousands of tourists, scientists and amateur astronomers from around the world waited anxiously across tropical northern Australia on Tuesday to find out whether the clouds will part in time to see a total eclipse of the sun.
Forecasters were predicting cloudy skies around dawn Wednesday, when the moon will pass between the sun and Earth and plunge a slice of the continent's northeast into darkness. Many worried that they will miss a rare chance to view the celestial phenomenon.
"There will be breaks in (the clouds), but it's just a matter of the luck of the draw whether you get a break at the right time," said Queensland state Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Andrew Mostyn. "It's a bit of bad luck."
The eclipse will cast its 150-kilometer (95-mile) wide shadow starting at dawn in Australia's Northern Territory and then cross the northeast tip of the country before swooping east across the South Pacific, where no islands are in its direct path. A partial eclipse will be visible from east Indonesia, the eastern half of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and southern parts of Chile and Argentina. Totality â€” the darkness that happens at the peak of the eclipse â€” will last just over two minutes.