A total solar eclipse is coming to WA this April! Marvel at the clockwork of the solar system as the Moon passes directly between the Earth and the Sun. But what should we expect to see? And what if you can’t make it to Exmouth? Even more important, how do you view the eclipse safely? Total solar eclipses happen during the daytime. The partial solar eclipse begins just after 10am on April 20th, 2023. “Totality”, when the disc of the Sun is completely covered by the disc of the Moon, begins at 11:29am and ends just after 11:30am. Please note that these times vary ever so slightly, depending on the exact spot you are witnessing the total eclipse from. “Totality” is only visible from the Exmouth area.
What should you expect to see?
What you see will depend on where you are viewing the eclipse from. The best views will be in “the path of totality”, the pathway that the Moon’s umbra – the fully shaded region of the Moon’s shadow – traces across the surface of the Earth. For this eclipse, the only place in Australia that the path of totality traverses is the Exmouth Peninsula. You can see the exact path of totality here. For those lucky enough to watch from on the path of totality, you’ll be treated to a view of a total solar eclipse. The disc of the Moon will completely, and perfectly, cover the disk of the Sun, similar to the image below.
For those who can’t make it all the way to Exmouth, don’t fear! Stargazers will be treated to views of a partial eclipse anywhere in the state, however the amount of the Sun covered by the Moon depends on where you are. Below are images of the partial eclipse as viewed from Geraldton, Perth and Albany.
How do you see the eclipse?
First things first – IT IS NOT SAFE TO VIEW A SOLAR ECLIPSE WITHOUT PROPER PROTECTION. DOING SO MAY RESULT IN PERMANENT EYE DAMAGE OR BLINDNESS.
There are steps that keen stargazers can take to view the eclipse safely. One easily accessible method is the use of a pin hole projector. Pin hole projectors can be made at home, with household materials and ensure that all eclipse observers are kept safe when viewing. Find out how to make your own pin hole projector here.
Another option for solar eclipse viewing are solar eclipse glasses. These glasses are specially designed to be able to view the sun safely during a solar eclipse. During totality is the only time it is safe to look at the eclipse with the unaided eye. You can purchase solar eclipse glasses locally here.
Can you watch the eclipse through a telescope?
Unless your telescope has a dedicated solar filter, you cannot view the solar eclipse through it. The Sun should never be observed through a telescope unless it is specifically designed to do so, or it has a solar filter attached.
What if I’m working?
If you’re visiting or working in Perth on the day of the eclipse – April 20th 2023 – you can always duck down to Yagan Square, where a livestream of the eclipse will be broad cast, as captured from Exmouth.
Riley is an experienced astronomy guide who has been working within the astronomy community for several years. He is incredibly passionate about the night sky and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, Math and Education.
Did you know WA is a total solar eclipse hot spot?
There are four total solar eclipses visible from WA in the next 15 years!
We look forward to welcoming you to our friendly community of Stargazers & Astronomy Lovers where we thrive on making learning about the galaxy easy & fun!