(Perth) Professional astronomers and amateur cosmologists flocked to a remote part of Western Australia on Thursday to witness a total solar eclipse, during which the moon eclipsed our nearest star for 58 seconds.
In Exmouth, on the northwestern tip of Australia, astronomers parked their trailers, set up their telescopes and donned their goggles to watch the moon slip past the sun ahead of the total eclipse.
“A lot of people get hooked on this strange, otherworldly moment,” said John Lattanzio of the Astronomical Society of Australia.
“ They become “eclipse hunters” and travel all over the world to renew the experience ”.
At 11:29:48 local time (01:29:48 GMT), darkness descended on the spectators, plunging them into an eerie calm, before the sun returned fifty-eight seconds later, bathing in its light the dusty Australian Outback.
At the other end of the continent, in Sydney, the eclipse was only partial, with less than 20% of the sun’s surface blocked by the moon.
In East Timor, more than a thousand people, including tourists and stargazers from Southeast Asian countries, gathered at Com Beach in the far east of the country to witness the total solar eclipse one minute.
Stargazers observed the rare phenomenon through UV-blocking goggles distributed by astronomer groups, while others used telescopes provided by the National University of East Timor.
At a planetarium in Jakarta, thousands of people waited to observe through telescopes with around 40% of the sun obscured.
In the suburbs of the Indonesian capital, Bekasi, Kristoforus Aryo Bagaskoro and his 10-year-old daughter Tara observed the phenomenon on the reflective surface of a bucket filled with water.
“ Tara hasn’t stopped talking about it since yesterday, so this morning I used water to observe her in front of our house,” said the father. “It was a rare event. Tara was enthusiastic and kept asking why this could happen.”
For the little girl, the eclipse was “brilliant”.
The phenomenon notably allowed scientists to observe the solar corona, usually masked by its light rays. It was while witnessing a similar eclipse that Albert Einstein hypothesized that light rays could bend.