JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Under clear skies, some 20,000 eclipse chasers watched as a rare solar eclipse plunged part of Australia’s northwest coast into brief midday darkness Thursday with an accompanying dip in temperature.
The remote tourist town of Exmouth, with a population of fewer than 3,000, has been touted as one of Australia’s favorite spots for viewing the eclipse, which also crossed remote parts of Indonesia and East Timor.
An international crowd had been gathering for days, camped out in tents and trailers on a red, dusty plain on the edge of town with cameras and other viewing equipment pointed skyward.
NASA astronomer Henry Thrupp was among those in Exmouth cheering loudly in the darkness.
“Isn’t it incredible? That’s so cool. It was amazing. It was so sharp and it was 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 really felt like a long time. There’s nothing else you can see like it. It was just amazing. Amazing. And then you can see Jupiter and Mercury and be able to see them at the same time during the day — even seeing Mercury is a rarity.” “It was amazing,” Thrupp added.
Julie Cobson, who cycled more than 1,000 km (600 miles) from the coastal city of Fremantle on Australia’s west coast north to Exmouth, said the phenomenon left her skin tingling.
“I feel so emotional, like I could cry. The color changed and seeing the corona and the sun flares…” Cobson said.
“It was very strong and the temperature dropped a lot,” she added, referring to a sudden drop in temperature of 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) when the moon’s shadow enveloped the area.
In the Indonesian capital, hundreds came 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 using telescopes along with hundreds of other visitors.
“I’m still happy to come even though it’s cloudy. We’re happy to see how excited people come here to watch the eclipse, because it happens so rarely,” Zahraa said.
The call to prayer echoed from the city’s mosques when the eclipse phase began, as Muslims were chanting the eclipse prayer as a reminder of the greatness of God.
the Hybrid solar eclipse It was traced from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and was mostly over water. The lucky few on their way either saw the darkness of the total eclipse or a “ring of fire” as the sun peeked out from behind the new moon.
Such celestial events happen about once every decade: most recently in 2013 and the next decade until 2031. They happen when Earth is in its “sweet spot,” so the moon and sun are about the same size in space, said NASA solar expert Michael Kirk. .
At some points, 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 sunlight through the annular eclipse.
“It’s a crazy phenomenon,” Kirk said. “You are actually watching the moon get bigger in the sky.”
It will be easy to catch the many upcoming solar eclipses. that annular eclipse in mid-October and a total eclipse next April Both will pass through millions of people in the Americas.
Burakoff reported from New York. AP reporter Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia contributed to this reporting.
The Associated Press Health and Science section receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Education Media group. AP is solely responsible for all content.
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