How to watch the rare solar eclipse crossing remote Australia.webp

How to watch the rare solar eclipse crossing remote Australia, Indonesia – The Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Under a cloudless sky, about 20,000 eclipse hunters watched as a rare solar eclipse plunged part of Australia’s northwest coast into brief midday darkness with an accompanying drop in temperature on Thursday.

The remote tourist town of Exmouth, with a population of fewer than 3,000, has been promoted as one of the best vantage points in Australia to view the eclipse, which also crossed remote parts of Indonesia and East Timor.

An international crowd had gathered for days, camping out in tents and trailers on a red, dusty plain on the outskirts of town, while cameras and other observation equipment were trained on the sky.

NASA astronomer Henry Throop was among those at Exmouth who cheered loudly in the dark.

“Isn’t it incredible? This is so awesome. It was overwhelming. It was so sharp and it was so bright. You could see the corona around the sun there,” said the visibly excited Washington resident.

“It’s only a minute long, but it really felt like a long time. There is nothing else to see what looks like. It was great. Spectacular. And then you could see Jupiter and Mercury and see them at the same time during the day – even seeing Mercury at all is pretty rare. That was just awesome,” added Throop.

Julie Copson, who traveled more than 1,000 km (600 miles) to Exmouth from Australia’s west coast port city of Fremantle, said the phenomenon made her skin tingle.

“I feel so emotional like I could cry. Changing color and seeing the corona and solar flares…” Copson said.

“It was very strong and the temperature dropped so much,” she added, referring to a sudden temperature drop of 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) as the moon’s shadow enveloped the region.

In Indonesia’s capital, hundreds flocked to the Jakarta Planetarium to watch the partial solar eclipse, which was obscured by clouds.

Azka Azzahra, 21, came with her sister and friends to get a closer look, using the telescopes with hundreds of other visitors.

“I’m still happy to come, even if it’s cloudy. It’s nice to see people coming here with great enthusiasm to see the eclipse because it’s rare,” Azzahra said.

The call to prayer sounded from the city’s mosques as the eclipse phase began, as Muslims said eclipse prayers as a reminder of God’s greatness.

The hybrid eclipse ran from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and was mostly over water. The lucky few along the way saw either the darkness of a total solar eclipse or a “ring of fire” as the sun peeked out from behind the new moon.

Such celestial events happen about once a decade: the last was in 2013 and the next not until 2031. They occur when Earth is in the “sweet spot,” meaning the moon and sun are almost exactly the same size in the sky, the NASA solar expert said Michael Kirk.

In some places, the moon is a little closer, blocking the sun in a total eclipse. But when the moon is a little further away, it lets out some of the sunlight in an annular eclipse.

“It’s a crazy phenomenon,” Kirk said. “You’re actually watching the moon get bigger in the sky.”

Several other upcoming solar eclipses will be easier to spot. An annular solar eclipse in mid-October and a total solar eclipse next April will affect millions of people in America.


Burakoff reported from New York. Associated Press journalist Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia contributed to this report.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.