Solar eclipses occur an average of 2.4 eclipses per year. Total eclipses are more rare however, occurring only 26.7 percent of the time. The last one, which could be seen in Easter Island, Chile, and Argentina, happened on July 11, 2010.
According to MrEclipse.com
, the next visible total solar eclipse will occur March 20, 2015 and can be seen in Iceland, Europe, and the northern regions of African and Asia. Australians will have to wait until until November 25, 2030 before they can catch a glimpse of the solar phenomenon again.
Tens of thousands of people in Australia turned out to view the eclipse. Hotel rooms and even camp grounds were booked solid with people who came to view the eclipse. The University of North Dakota sent a team of eclipse chasers to Cairns, Australia, while approximately 1,200 scientists from Japan chartered three flights to witness the spectacle. Six cruise ships sat off the north Queensland coast, filled with passengers anxiously awaiting the eclipse. Even several hot air balloons floated overhead.
In Cairns, an estimated 50,000 spectators and scientist gathered to witness the eclipse, which reached totality at 6.38am local time (2035 GMT).
The total eclipse only lasted for two minutes, but during that time, the northern coast of Queensland was bathed in an indigo glow. Birds ceased to sing and animals stopped as day became night and temperatures began to fall.
In Queensland's Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, thousands congregated, eager to witness the region's first total solar eclipse in 1,300 years. Simon Crerar, one of the spectators, told The Telegraph
"Day into night, unbelievable, goose bumps, speechless, amazing."
Ann Lucey, a nurse from Florida, traveled to Queensland to view to spectacle, telling News.com Australia
"It was breathtaking. I felt my heart skip a few beats, felt myself clapping, I was just breathless in awe."
The eager crowds were worried they would not be able to witness the event as thick clouds hung overhead. The crowd erupted into cheers as the clouds parted, allowing them to witness the rare event. Terry Cuttle, who is with the Astronomical Association of Queensland, told BBC News
"Immediately before, I was thinking, 'Are we gonna see this?' And we just had a fantastic display - it was just beautiful. And right after it finished, the clouds came back again. It really adds to the drama of it."
Fred Espenak, NASA's foremost authority on solar and lunar eclipses, said that although eclipses can seem magical, they can be accurately predicted to the exact second they will occur within 100 to 200 years. He went on to say
"But the pattern of occurrence is a complicated one. They don't repeat on a time schedule like the seasons of the year."
Those that could not make the journey, were able to watch the even live at Space.com.
Animated satellite images of the eclipses can been seen at the Brisbane Storm Chasers website
Espenak told Live Science
"On a scale of 1 to 10, total eclipses are a million."