A tiny Australian town has plunged into darkness as thousands of tourists gathered to bear witness to an extremely rare total solar eclipse.
The West Australian town of Exmouth was considered the best viewing spot in the world to view the rare hybrid solar eclipse – the first in 10 years.
Hobby astronomers and NASA experts gathered to catch a glimpse, with local stargazers wearing special glasses and pointing modified binoculars to the sky.
The total eclipse occured in Exmouth at just before 1:30pm and lasted about 80 seconds. Other cities around the country could see a partial eclipse.
The movement in the heavens led residents of the town, population 2,800, to list their homes on Airbnb for up to $17,000 to make the most of the stargazing tourists.
The tiny West Australian town of Exmouth has been plunged into darkness by an extremely rare hybrid solar eclipse (pictured), the first of its kind in a decade
The state had poured millions of dollars into the small town to prepare for the town’s 80 seconds of fame and a brief population increase of about 12,000.
One of the observers, a NASA astronomer, jumped up and down in excitement as the moon passed in front of the sun.
‘This is incredible, this is so fantastic,’ he told the ABC.
‘It just looked … so sharp and it was so bright, you could see the corona around the sun.
‘Things got dark, and then, it looks like nothing else in the sky there.’
The event is a start of a spectacular five total solar eclipses across Australia over the next 15 years.
The next total eclipse to hit the continent will be in July 2028 and is expected to pass across the country and over Sydney.
The eclipse created a ‘ring of fire’ effect as the sun peeked out around the moon
Another, a Belgian eclipse chaser, marked Exmouth as the 24th solar eclipse he has seen in his life.
‘My first was in the French entrails in the Caribbean,’ he said.
‘All of them [are] different, and this was very beautiful.’
More Australian cities are set to be able to view the event at varying strengths as the day continues.
Darwin and Broome are set to receive an eclipse of over 80 per cent completion while Alice Springs and Cairns will experience coverage of over 40 per cent.
Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane will receive a slight eclipse, while Hobart will see just 5 per cent of the sun covered.
The eclipse over Exmouth reached totality at just before 11:30am after reaching a partial eclipse at about 10:04pm
A hybrid eclipse passes between a annular and total eclipse in the same event, only happening a handful of times every decade
Gawkers were warned to not view the eclipse directly with the naked eye to avoid solar retinopathy.
The condition can result in life-long symptoms of blurred vision and disrupted colouring, and has affected eclipse-gazers across the world in the past.
The eclipse should only be viewed through solar eclipse glasses with a safety standard known as ISO 12312-2 or indirectly through a pinhole projector or through a camera.
The rare eclipse is a combination between a total eclipse and an annular eclipse, making the eclipse appear different depending on where you observe it from as it passes from annular to total and back.
An annular eclipse is characterised with a reddish hue as the sun is slightly larger than the moon, leading behind a visual effect similar to a sunrise or a sunset.
A total eclipse occurs when the moon is situated perfectly in front of the run, blocking out all but a halo of white light.
Stargazers used binoculars with specific solar eclipse lenses to see the eclipse first hand
The state’s government and astronomical bodies warned that directly viewing the eclipse with the naked eye could cause life-long visual effects
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