On average, there are two to three solar eclipses every year. There are different types of solar eclipses – total, annular, partial or hybrid.
During a solar eclipse, a shadow is cast by the Moon as it passes between the Sun and Earth. If you’re in the right place on Earth at the time of a solar eclipse, you can find yourself in the Moon’s fainter outer shadow (the penumbra) or in the dark inner shadow (the umbra).
During a Total Solar Eclipse, the moment that the disc of the Moon completely covers the Sun (which can last for several minutes) is called “totality”.
Also keep in mind that the Moon’s orbit around Earth isn’t perfectly circular. It’s slightly oval shaped (or elliptical) and so its distance from Earth is always changing. Depending on how far the Moon is away from Earth at the time of a solar eclipse, the disc will either appear large enough or not large enough to cover the whole Sun.
Here’s a quick run down of the different types of solar eclipses:
Total Solar Eclipse
The disc of the Moon completely covers the Sun during totality. Just as totality begins and ends, the Sun’s light streams through crater rims or mountains at one point on the edge of the Moon and produces a “diamond ring” effect.
Annual Solar Eclipse
The Moon is a bit further away from Earth and the disc doesn’t quite cover the Sun. You’re left with a orange/red ring of sunlight around the edge of the disc of the Moon.
Partial Solar Eclipse
The Sun, Moon and Earth aren’t in a completely straight line in space. The disc of the Moon only covers part of the disc of the Sun.
Hybrid Solar Eclipse
The Moon is just at the right distance from Earth and the disc barely covers the Sun. During totality, the Sun’s light produces a “diamond necklace” effect as its light passes between crater rims all around the edge of the Moon.
When to see the Hybrid Solar Eclipse, Exmouth 2023
There’s a special Hybrid Solar Eclipse visible at Exmouth on 20 April 2023. I know it’s a number of years away, but it’s something you might like to start preparing for if you’re keen.
Hybrid Solar Eclipses are the rarest of all solar eclipses. They occur about every 10 years or so.
The last three have only been visible over the ocean or hard-to-get to places. The last one was on 3 November 2013 over ocean and Central Africa. Prior to that, there was one on 8 April 2005 but, again, it was over ocean and Central America.
Think about the advances in astrophotography over the last 5 years! A Hybrid Solar Eclipse is the missing image in the eclipse chaser’s photo album.
It’s going to be a wonderful event but will put a lot of pressure on Exmouth and the surrounding area for that moment in time.
In Western Australia, we have a strong astronomical community lead by Astronomy WA. They are working to prepare the State for the influx of visitors to make sure that everyone has a great time and is encouraged to stay longer to experience our world-class stargazing.
Read more on how WA is preparing for the 2023 Hybrid Solar Eclipse…
For more technical information about the 2023 Hybrid Solar Eclipse, there’s no better place than Mr Eclipse’s website…