Tropical north Queensland was momentarily shrouded in darkness this morning as residents and thousands of tourists experienced a rare total solar eclipse.
All eyes and cameras turned to the heavens from 5.45am (AEST) as the moon began moving between the Earth and the sun, like a small bite which gradually increases in size.
Cloud cover threatened to spoil the party and huge cheers erupted when they parted to give tens of thousands of eclipse hunters a perfect view of totality – when the moon completely covers the sun and a faint halo or corona appears.
When it happened the early chatter of birds and animals was replaced by an eerie silence as the moon overtook the sun, casting a shadow that plunged the land into darkness, with temperatures dropping.
It was the first total solar eclipse in Australia in a decade and the last until 2028.
Far North Queensland will not experience another one for more than 200 years.
Around 50,000 tourists from around the world travelled to Cairns and Port Douglas to view the eclipse.
Residents in other parts of Australia saw a partial eclipse this morning, but not the full darkness witnessed up north.
Caption: November 14, 2012: Far North Queensland was shrouded in darkness for two minutes in a rare total solar eclipse, the last one in Australia until 2028.