Total solar eclipse thrills thousands in Exmouth



“As we eagerly await totality, we can see sunspots.

“My favorite parts are the diamond rings and the solar flares that become visible as we enter the totality.”

Detroit native Shane Varrti, who has seen five eclipses, said he started planning his trip a year ago.

“It’s very exciting. All these efforts are paying off,” he said.

Astrophysicist Melanie Johnston-Hollitt has always wanted to experience a total solar eclipse, but was never in the right place at the right time.

“Being able to see it from Australia made it extra special,” she said.

Cruise ship passengers watched the event from a ship near Exmouth, while eclipse enthusiasts set up roadsides along the route to the main viewing point in Cape Ridge National Park.

Professor Johnston-Hollett said the eclipse would help people understand the structure of the solar system.

“We’re on one rock, the Earth, surrounded by another rock, the Moon, both orbiting a single star, the Sun, in the vastness of space,” she said.

Temperatures drop during totality.

Thursday’s eclipse is considered rare because it was a hybrid eclipse that began as an annular eclipse over the Indian Ocean before becoming total near Exmouth.

The Perth Observatory website crashed as people went online to watch the eclipse live.

The Observatory turned to Facebook to provide a way to see the streaming phenomenon.

“Thank you for visiting our site. You all broke it,” the observatory said.

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Exmouth, with a population of around 2,800, has swelled with thousands of tourists keen to witness the eclipse, arriving by air and by road.

There are concerts and events in towns and cattle stations throughout the region, creating a festive atmosphere.

Campsites are popping up in front yards and in open spaces, and the streets are filled with 4WDs and campers.

There was a long queue outside the Earlybird Cafe in Exmouth on Thursday morning.

Owner Mandy Brendel said the influx of tourists kept her and three employees busy ahead of the eclipse.

“This is amazing,” she said as she made coffee.

Associated Press



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