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Hybrid solar eclipse passes over Australia

  • A hybrid solar eclipse is a rare event that won't be seen again until 2031
  • The path of the eclipse was mostly over water, making it difficult to see
  • Upcoming eclipses will be visible to millions in America

(NewsNation) — A solar eclipse awed thousands in Australia as one woman captured video of the totality.

Exmouth, a small tourist town, was one of the best places to view the event in Australia. The path of the eclipse also crossed parts of Indonesia and East Timor. Some viewers traveled thousands of miles to witness the eclipse, which was a rare hybrid eclipse.

The majority of this eclipse passed over water, making it more difficult to view.

Solar eclipses occur when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, temporarily blocking the sun from view. Eclipses can be annular, where a small ring of the sun is visible, or total, where the entire sun is obscured.

This most recent eclipse was a rare hybrid solar eclipse, which happens when an eclipse may be total or annular depending on where it is viewed from.

Such celestial events happen about once every decade: The last one was in 2013 and the next one isn’t until 2031. They occur when Earth is in the “sweet spot” so the moon and the sun are almost the exact same size in the sky, said NASA solar expert Michael Kirk.

At some points, the moon is a little closer and blocks out the sun in a total eclipse. But when the moon is a little farther away, it lets some of the sun’s light peek out in an annular eclipse.

“It’s a crazy phenomenon,” Kirk said. “You’re actually watching the moon get larger in the sky.”

Several other upcoming solar eclipses will be easier to catch. An annular eclipse in mid-October and a total eclipse in April 2024 will both cross over millions of people in the Americas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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