Thousands head to Australian town to watch hybrid solar eclipse

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A rare hybrid solar eclipse over a remote town on Australia’s west coast drew thousands on Thursday to witness the event.

Astronomy fans and enthusiasts from around the world traveled to Exmouth, a tiny beachside town roughly 1,200 kilometers from state capital Perth, to witness the total solar eclipse.

A supplied image of a total solar eclipse, Exmouth, Western Australia, April 20, 2023. (Reuters)
A supplied image of a total solar eclipse, Exmouth, Western Australia, April 20, 2023. (Reuters)



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The moon crossed the sun for a minute at 11.29 a.m. local time (0329 GMT), plunging viewers into darkness and dropping the temperature.

Thursday’s eclipse was a rare “hybrid” type, not seen worldwide since 2013. In a hybrid eclipse, depending on where viewers stand, the moon either blots out the sun, a total eclipse, or obscures the center while leaving a ring of light visible, an annular eclipse.

A hybrid solar eclipse as seen from Metro Manila, Philippines, April 20, 2023. (Reuters)
A hybrid solar eclipse as seen from Metro Manila, Philippines, April 20, 2023. (Reuters)



Peter Bartley made the fifteen hour drive from Perth with his kids and father for the “special moment” together.

“It was a hard sell at the beginning because I told them it would only be for a minute and it was going to take fifteen hours to get here,” said Bartley.

“But it was probably the most exciting minute that we’ve had for a long time.”

While the total eclipse was only visible from a few parts of Australia, Indonesia and Timor Leste, a partial eclipse was visible across all three countries and parts of southeast Asia.

In Jakarta, the light dimmed and the sun took on the appearance of a sickle moon, according to photos shares on social media.

A group of Japanese fans who had traveled to Exmouth burst into tears and hugged after the eclipse ended, according to video footage from the event.

“It felt so eerie, I’ve had shakes,” said Catherine Holler, who had traveled from Perth.

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