a rare solar eclipse moved thousands of people who gathered in a remote Australian town in search of the best place to watch it.
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The sky over Exmouth in Western Australia darkened for around 60 seconds on Thursday (20/04) as the Moon cast a 40 km wide shadow over the region.
The total solar eclipse was part of a rare hybrid eclipse, which only occurs a few times a century. Depending on the location, observers could see one of three different types of eclipses. Hence, the phenomenon is known as a hybrid solar eclipse.
Some have seen a total solar eclipse – where the Moon completely blocks light from the Sun. Others have seen what is called an annular solar eclipse – where the Moon becomes too small in the sky to completely block out the Sun. And finally, there were those who watched a partial eclipse, in which the Moon only covers part of the Sun.
The last hybrid solar eclipse occurred in November 2013 and NASA expects the next in 2031.
Partial eclipses were also visible in other parts of Asia-Pacific.
The eclipse began in the Indian Ocean at sunrise and ended at sunset in the Pacific.
People living in Western Australia, Timor-Leste and West Papua were the most privileged.
But only those in Exmouth were able to see the total solar eclipse, at 11:27 a.m. local time (0:27 a.m. Brasilia time).
The resort – 1.2km north of Perth – is usually home to just under 3,000 people. But its population was multiplied by seven with the phenomenon.
Tourists and scientists traveling to Exmouth cheered as the temperature dropped, the sky darkened and the stars came out.
Some told the press that the eclipse looked surreal – “like a dream”. Others described it as an “almost religious experience”.
“It’s only been a minute, but it was really long. There’s nothing else you can see that looks like it,” said one American, jumping in excitement on live television.
Another Canadian tourist was also moved, even though this is his seventh eclipse.
“I have to admit I cried a bit, it was amazing,” he said.
Look below for images from Exmouth, Australia.
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