Under clear skies, 20,000 eclipse hunters gathered at a small site to watch a rare solar eclipse plunge a portion of Australia’s northwest coast into brief darkness at midday on Thursday while temporarily cooling the tropical heat.
The remote tourist town of Exmouth, with a population of less than 3,000, has been described as one of Australia’s favorite places to view the eclipse, which also passed through remote parts of Indonesia and East Timor.
An international crowd had gathered for days, camped out in tents and trailers on a red, dusty plain on the outskirts of town, cameras and other viewing equipment pointed skyward.
NASA astronomer Henry Thrupp was among those in Exmouth cheering loudly in the darkness.
“Isn’t that great? So cold. It was great. It was so clean and so bright. You can see the corona around the sun over there,” said the Washington resident, visibly excited.
“It’s only a minute, but it was a really long time. There’s nothing else you can see like it. It was amazing. Incredible. And then you can see Jupiter and Mercury, to be able to see those two at the same time of day — even seeing Mercury is very rare, So that was cool.
Such celestial events happen about once every decade: most recently in 2013 and the next decade until 2031. These happen when Earth is in its “sweet spot,” so the moon and sun have the same size in space, according to a solar expert at NASA agency. Michael. Kirk. .
In some places, the moon is a little closer and blocks the sun in a total eclipse. But when the moon is a little further away, it lets some of the sunlight through the annular eclipse.
“It’s a crazy phenomenon,” Kirk said. “You are actually watching the moon grow in the sky.”
It will be easy to catch the many upcoming solar eclipses. The annular eclipse in mid-October and total eclipse in April 2024 will pass across millions of people in the Americas.
Passionate about first time viewers
Principal eclipse hunter Julie Cobson, who traveled more than 1,000km north from the Western Australian coastal town of Fremantle to Exmouth, said the phenomenon affected her skin.
“I feel so moved, like I could cry. The color changes when you see the corona and solar flares,” Copson said.
«C’était tres fort et la température a beaucouup chuté», at-elle poursuivi, faisant référence à une chute sodaine de la température de 5 degrés Celsius à partir de 29 degrés Celsius lorsque l’ombre de la lune a enveloppe la region.
It was the fifth eclipse for Detroit resident Shane Varty, who began planning his trip to Exmouth a year ago.
“It’s very exciting. All these efforts paid off,” Varty said.
The “ring of fire” is visible to some
And in the Indonesian capital, hundreds of people flocked to the Jakarta Planetarium to watch the partial eclipse, which was obscured by clouds.
Azka Al-Zahraa, 21, came with her sister and friends to get a closer look through telescopes along with hundreds of other visitors.
“I am always happy to come, even if it is cloudy,” Zahraa said.
In East Timor, people gather around the beach in the municipality of Lautem, waiting to witness a rare eclipse of the sun through eclipse glasses. Some of them came from other countries and gathered with the locals to get a clear view of the eclipse.
People cheered when the sun and moon reached the maximum eclipse.
“This is a completely new normal for Timor-Leste. It is very important for us to be able to witness it and experience it firsthand,” said Martinho Fatima, an official with the Civil Protection Authority.
Hybrid solar eclipses have been tracked from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and occurred mostly over water. The lucky few on their way saw either the darkness of a total eclipse or a “ring of fire” when the sun appeared behind the new moon.