Tens of thousands of eclipse watchers gathered to catch a glimpse of a rare hybrid solar eclipse that brought darkness to part of the northwest coast of Australia on Thursday.
The town of Exmouth was promoted as one of the best viewing spots to see the event.
Attendees reported a remarkable temperature drop. When the moon’s shadow fell upon the region, the temperature plummeted by 9 F from 84 F.
“It’s only a minute long, but it really felt like a long time,” remarked NASA astronomer Henry Throop. “There’s nothing else you can see which looks like that. It was just awesome. Spectacular.”
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The eclipse also crossed parts of Indonesia and East Timor.
Hundreds also traveled to the Jakarta Planetarium to see the partial eclipse, which was obscured by clouds.
There, Muslims said eclipse prayers in city mosques.
In East Timor, an international crowd congregated around the beach in Lautem municipality, waiting to witness the solar eclipse through their special eclipse glasses.
People cheered as the sun and moon reached maximum eclipse.
The hybrid solar eclipse was mostly over water, tracking from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
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Those in its path either saw the darkness of a total eclipse or a “ring of fire,” with the sun peeking out from behind the new moon.
Such events occur about once every decade, the last of which took place in 2013.
The next one is not until 2031.
They occur when the Earth is positioned so that the moon and sun are nearly the same size in the sky, according to NASA solar expert Michael Kirk.
Kirk told The Associated Press that when the moon is closer, it blocks out the sun in a total eclipse. However, when the moon is a little father away, the sun’s light peeks out in an annular eclipse.
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“It’s a crazy phenomenon,” he said. “You’re actually watching the moon get larger in the sky.”
An annular eclipse in October and a total eclipse in April 2024 will both cross over the Americas.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.