Find out how to make the most out of this rare celestial event

In just under a month on April 20th, 2023, the people of Western Australia, Timor-Leste, and parts of Indonesia will be able to witness a rare astronomical event – a Total Solar Eclipse. During this event, the Moon will block out the entire disc of the Sun for 62 seconds. This is an incredibly rare occurrence and the first time that it will happen in Western Australia since the 20th of Jun 1974. The schedule for the eclipse in Exmouth is:

EventUTC TimeTime in Exmouth*
Partial Eclipse begins20th of April at 02:04:31 am20th of April at 10:04:31 am
Full Eclipse begins20th of April at 03:29:48 am20th of April at 11:29:48 am
Maximum Eclipse20th of April at 03:30:17 am20th of April at 11:30:17 am
Full Eclipse ends20th of April at 03:30:46 am20th of April at 11:30:46 am
Partial Eclipse ends20th of April at 05:02:34 am20th of April at 01:02:34 pm

The Total Solar Eclipse will allow astronomers to study the Sun’s Corona and Chromosphere. The Corona is the outermost layer of the Sun’s atmosphere, made up of hot, ionized gas that extends far beyond the visible surface of the star. The temperature in this region can reach millions of degrees Celsius, making it one of the hottest places in space. Studying the Sun’s Corona is essential for understanding how stars interact with their environment and how they evolve over time. It also provides astronomers with an excellent opportunity to study the magnetic fields and how they shape the Corona as well.

There are four types of Solar Eclipses: Total, Annular, Partial, and Hybrid. The Ningaloo 2023 Solar Eclipse is special because it is a rare “Hybrid Eclipse.” A hybrid eclipse is a type of solar eclipse that looks like an annular solar eclipse or a total solar eclipse, depending on the observer’s location along the central eclipse path. Observers in Exmouth will witness a Total Solar Eclipse during the 62 seconds of darkness as the Moon casts a 41km wide path over Western Australia’s Northwest Cape into darkness.

This image combines many exposures of different durations taken to reveal aspects of the widely-viewed total solar eclipse of 21 August 2017, which was visible from the United States. In the centre the faint circle of the Moon can be seen, with its surface features dimly illuminated in light reflected from the Earth. Around the edge red prominences can be seen and further out the white glow of the corona is sculpted by the Sun's magnetic field. Image Credit: ESO/P. Horálek/Solar Wind Sherpas project
April's Hybrid Solar Eclipse viewing map. Image Credit:
Sun, Moon, and Earth during a hybrid eclipse. Image Credit:
Types of Solar Eclipses. Image Credit:

Total Solar Eclipses occur somewhere on Earth about every 18 months. However, experiencing the Sun’s corona appearing around the black shadow of the Moon is the highlight of a Total Solar Eclipse event. During totality, day will become almost night so the stars and planets become visible, the air temperature drops and animals may change their behaviour. In ordinary daylight, the corona of the Sun isn’t visible, but it can be seen during a Total Solar Eclipse, it looks like a white halo.

For those who are lucky enough to witness this extraordinary event, it will be an unforgettable experience. However, there are some important tips that people should keep in mind while preparing to witness this rare event. Firstly, never look directly at the Sun with the naked eye as it can cause permanent eye damage, it’s worth reading the American Astronomical Society’s web page on eye safety and solar eclipses. Secondly, make sure to have reputable solar eclipse glasses. The Perth Observatory ($2.50 each), and Binocentral in Joondalup are recommended for purchasing these glasses.

Solar glasses in The Perth Observatory Astro Shop. Image Credit Matt Woods

Visitors to the area should be aware of the limited accommodation available and should plan accordingly. The Ningaloo Eclipse website and the Exmouth Solar Eclipse Facebook group page, are excellent for planning your stay up they. Additionally, Time and Date has a great page for details about the eclipse itself. They are expecting between 10,000 to 50,000 people, so it’s best to come prepared with food, water, spare tyres, oil, and fuel for the car, as towns may run out of these items. Visitors should also ensure that their car is serviced before the trip and should avoid parking on long grass when they’re up there to avoid starting fires.

It is important to note that there are many mobile blackspots up north, and visitors should bring first aid kits and an Emergency Personal Locator Beacon just in case they get into trouble. It’s best to have a Telstra prepaid sim card if you normally have an Optus or Vodafone sim in your phone. SpaceX’s Starlink (Superfast satellite broadband internet) is also now available for the road ( and you can use it now in the Exmouth region. It’s also 50% off the hardware currently. it is recommended to space out the trip as it is a long drive to the area.

Perth Observatory will also have a team going up to Exmouth for the Eclipse to live stream the eclipse with our friends at Time and Date, but we will be leaving early to do astronomy nights along the way with Astrotourism WA.

14th of AprilDalwallinu (Dalwallinu Recreation Centre)Flyer
15th of AprilMorawa (Gutha Hall)Register Here
16th of AprilMurchison (Community Town Hall, Murchison Settlement)Register Here
17th of AprilMullewa (Mullewa Recreation Centre)Register Here
19th of AprilBullara StationNo Need
22nd of AprilGascoyne Junction (Gascoyne Junction Town Pavilion)Register Here
23rd of AprilUseless Loop (Just for the locals)No Need
24th of AprilDongara (Irwin Recreation Centre)Flyer

Astrotourism WA has two other teams doing astronomy nights, so we’ll be doing astronomy around most of Western Australia:

25th of MarchThree Springs (Three Springs Golf Club)Register Here
31st of MarchLake Grace (Jam Patch Nature Reserve)Register Here
3rd of AprilChittering (Lower Chittering Hall)Register Here
5th of AprilWickepin (Wickepin Community Centre)Register Here
8th of AprilNarembeen (Narembeen Recreation Centre)Register Here
11th of AprilBakers Hill (Bakers Hill Recreation Centre)Register Here
12th of AprilWongan Hills (Wongan Hills Airport)Register Here
13th of AprilMingenew (Mingenew Recreation Centre)Register Here
14th of AprilCervantes (Cervantes Community Recreation Centre)Register Here
14th of AprilGreenough (Central Greenough Cafe and Visitor Centre)Register Here
16th of AprilDenham (Shark Bay Recreation Centre)Register Here
17th of AprilCarnarvon (Carnarvon Space & Technology Museum)Register Here
21st of AprilOnslow (Onslow Foreshore)Register Here
22nd of AprilPerenjori (Perenjori Caravan Park)Register Here
23rd of AprilCarnamah (MacPherson Homestead)Register Here
26th of AprilDarkan (One Gate Farm Nature Camp)Register Here
28th of AprilNarrogin (Thomas Hogg Oval)Register Here

Exmouth does have three astronomy nights on the 19th, 20th, and 21st of April, and also has the 2022 Astrofest Astrophotography Exhibition for the whole of April at the Tantabiddi Gallery in the Ningaloo Centre, which is free to see. For more info on these events and more, visit the Ningaloo Eclipse website’s event page

If you can’t get into Exmouth, Onslow and Carnarvon are also going to be very good places to see the eclipse and If you can’t leave Perth, don’t worry, you’ll get a partial eclipse where the Moon will cover 70% of the Sun, and we’ll have our own eclipse event at the Observatory so you can safely see this rare astronomical phenomenon.

 Difference in light during the 70% Partial Solar Eclipse in Perth. Image Credit: Stellarium

If you do miss out completely, don’t worry, Western Australia will get 5 Total Eclipses in the next 50 years:

  • 22nd Jul 2028 – Partial Solar Eclipse in Perth (Total Eclipse path goes through North WA)
  • 13th Jul 2037 – Partial Solar Eclipse in Perth (Total Eclipse path goes over Geraldton)
  • 26th Dec 2038 – Partial Solar Eclipse in Perth (Total Eclipse path goes over Onslow)
  • 17th Dec 2066 – Partial Solar Eclipse in Perth (Total Eclipse path goes over Margaret River, Augusta, Denmark, and Albany)
  • 31st May 2068 – Total Solar Eclipse in Perth

If you’re experiencing your first total solar eclipse, it’s best to fully immerse yourself in the moment with your loved ones during totality. Consider disconnecting from technology such as mobile phones and tablets to fully appreciate the breathtaking event unfolding in the night sky. The experience is truly awe-inspiring, and it’s likely to leave a lasting impression on you. After totality, you may find yourself eagerly anticipating the next opportunity to witness such a stunning celestial display. So, be present, embrace the magic of the eclipse, and let it move you.

Banner Photograph: Nicolas Lefaudeux/National Maritime Museum