April 2023’s Unusual Hybrid Solar Eclipse20th Apr 2023
On Thursday, 20th April, in the southern hemisphere, the Moon blocked out the Sun for a 58-second period.
Eclipse chasers travelled far and wide to see the phenomenon, which is actually a “hybrid” solar eclipse. We explain more about what this means and some interesting facts about the event below.
An Eclipse Exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere
The path of the total eclipse, where the Moon will fully cover the sun, was around 25 miles wide and 8,000 miles long, most of which is covered by the sea. The eclipse clipped the western coast of Australia and moved to Timor Leste and West Papua before providing a beaded sunset visible from the Marshall Islands.
The town of Exmouth in Western Australia was the only place in the world to see the totality of Thursday’s astronomical phenomenon. The sun was covered for 58 seconds during the much-awaited total solar eclipse.
Many Twitter users shared their photos and videos of the solar eclipse, so here are some of them:
The next total solar eclipse to be observed in Australia will be on 22nd July 2028, which will cross from Kimberley to Sydney.
A Treat For a Lucky Few
It is thought that around 0.004% of people were in a position to see the path of totality as the eclipse’s path only covers areas like Exmouth Peninsula and the tiny Timor Leste and West Papua.
A Hybrid Eclipse (But That Doesn’t Really Matter)
April’s event was a hybrid eclipse meaning that it swaps from being a ring of fire or annular type eclipse to being a solar eclipse which can be seen with the naked eye, it then switched back at some locations during its path.
To the naked eye though, it made no difference. It is certainly interesting as it has only happened seven times this century, but to view, this eclipse was no different.
Southeast Asia Gets Part of the Fun
Even though the totality of the total eclipse is small, there were thought to be around 700 million people in the range to see at least half of the sun blocked out by the moon. Well worth a watch even for those who couldn’t make the trip to Timor Leste.