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Ningaloo Total Solar Eclipse 2023

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Scitech partnered with Science Centre Singapore on livestream broadcast of the Ningaloo Total Solar Eclipse.  Scitech’s teams on the ground in Exmouth provided front row seats to all the action and explaining the science behind this rare phenomenon.  Thanks to Gingin Gravity Discovery Centre & Observatory for the live feed of the event on the day. 

See a timelapse video of the phases of the Ningaloo Total Solar Eclipse captured by one of the Scitech Team in Exmouth. 

 

Missed the Eclipse? Watch the livestream. 

At 9.30am on 20 April 2023, the moon will start to move across the face of the sun and its shadow will make its way across the Indian Ocean. Around 11.30am the Ningaloo Total Solar Eclipse will take place in Exmouth and continue across the Timor Sea.

This eclipse has been named the Ningaloo Total Solar Eclipse as the Ningaloo region in Western Australia’s north will provide the best viewing on land, and in particular at Exmouth, where you experience 58 seconds of total darkness. Any places south of the Exmouth and Carnarvon will experience a partial solar eclipse with Perth being able to witness at least 70% of the event when it happens.

We have provided information below for you to learn and understand what will happen during the event, why this is known as a hybrid eclipse, and most importantly how to be eye safe so you can view this significant event safely.

What is a Total Solar Eclipse and why is this one called a Hybrid eclipse?
There are four types of solar eclipses: Total, Annular, Partial, and Hybrid.

A Total Solar Eclipse happens during the daytime, and is when the Moon passes directly between the Sun and Earth. When this happens, the shadow of the Moon falls across parts of the Earth and if you are inside the area known as the Umbra, or directly in line with the Sun and the Moon, the Moon will block out the Sun’s light and we get to see the Sun’s corona, also known as its Crown.

An Annular Eclipse happens when a Total Eclipse is being witnessed and the Moon is at its furthest point from the Earth. Due to the Moon being viewed from further away, it is too small in the sky to completely block the Sun’s light and instead looks like a black disk with a bright ring around it.

A Partial Eclipse is when the Moon doesn’t completely line up with the Sun and Earth. Sometimes it lines up just enough to block out some light of the Sun, but not all of it.

A Hybrid Eclipse is a rare type of eclipse. This is when an eclipse goes from being an Annular Eclipse to a Total Eclipse or vice versa. These types of Eclipses may only happen once in a decade or even less! During the 21st century, only seven Hybrid Eclipses occurred!

 

The Ningaloo Total Eclipse Path
Even though a Total Solar Eclipse seems to be all encompassing from the people who are witnessing it, the Moon’s shadow only covers a small area on the Earth. This shadowed area is known as the Path of Totality. When this path crosses an area on the Earth, for just a few seconds or minutes, the sky goes so dark that other stars can be viewed during the daytime! In the picture we can see the Path of Totality as a dark red line, every colour out from the line, will witness a Partial Eclipse. Here in Perth, about 70% of the Moon will block out the Sun.   

What are the phases of a Total Eclipse?
There are four main phases of a Total Solar Eclipse:  

  • First Contact starts when the Moon’s path starts to pass in front of the Sun. 
  • Second Contact is minutes before the Moon is directly in front of the Sun. Here the Sun shines through craters on the surface of the Moon creating an effect known as Baily’s Beads and leads to the Diamond Ring effect. 
  • Mid Eclipse is when Totality occurs. During totality the sky goes dark, animals go quiet, and even the temperature drops. This is the only time to be able to look at a solar eclipse without needing eye protection, but it only last briefly, sometimes less than a minute.  
  • Third Contact is the point right after totality as the Sun’s light is revealed again. The Diamond effect will occur again, followed by Baily’s Beads as the Moon continues its orbit around the Earth 
  • Fourth Contact is the last point in which the Moon is blocking out any of the Sun’s light and the eclipse has finished
Key Times
Eclipse total Duration 2 hours, 58 minutes, 3 seconds 
Duration of totality 58 seconds
First begins 10:04:31 
Second begins 11:29:48 
Mid-Eclipse 11:30:17 
Third ends 11:30:46 
Fourth ends 13:02:34 

Safety First!
The first option is using Solar Eclipse glasses. Unlike normal sunglasses, these have special solar filters added to them that keep your eyes safe. However, even when wearing these glasses, it’s important to NOT look at the Sun through a camera lens, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device because the concentrated solar rays will burn through the filter and cause serious eye injury.

Don’t use your smartphone or tablet to record the eclipse, unless you manually add a solar filter to its lenses, and again you will STILL need to wear your own solar eclipse glasses as well.

The second and safer option is to use a Pinhole viewer to witness a Solar Eclipse. This is where you are using shadows to watch the solar eclipse.

Making a pinhole view is actually quite easy and you can find the instructions below to make a Cereal Box Pinhole Viewer using items you probably already have in your home!

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