Australia just had its first of five total solar eclipses in 15 years
Between 2023 and 2038 there will be no fewer than five dramatic total solar eclipses in Australia
Get ready for a dramatic totality at Uluru (Ayers Rock), Sydney Harbour, the Murray River Valley and Byron Bay as Australia goes eclipse-crazy—starting this month. In fact, in the next 15 years, no fewer than five total solar eclipses will be visible from Australia. Sure, it’s a vast place—the planet’s sixth largest country—but to have five of nature’s greatest events on show in the same country is a rare thing indeed.
The last totality viewable from Australia was from Tropical North Queensland on November 14, 2012—that region’s first for 1,300 years.
As a bonus, over the next 15 years, a rare totality will be viewable from some of Australia’s most well-known and beautiful landmarks, from Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Sydney Harbour to the Murray River Valley and Byron Bay.
Remarkably, today’s total solar eclipse kicks off a run of three total solar eclipses in just six years. Here’s everything you need to know about why Australia is about to live up to its nickname of “the lucky country”—and what eclipse-chasers should get excited about seeing either side of totality:
1 – The Hybrid Eclipse
When: April 20, 2023
Maximum duration: 1 minute 16 seconds
The first totality of five will occur this month when, on April 20, 2023, a hybrid solar eclipse will be visible from Western Australia. Almost all of the event will happen at sea. It begins in the remote Indian Ocean from where a very brief annular solar eclipse will be visible for a second or so. The same thing will happen in the remote Pacific Ocean later that day. In between, a total solar eclipse of around a minute will be visible, though barely from land. They will be many cruise ships on the west coast of Western Australia to catch the event, as well as on the Exmouth Peninsula, the only part of Australia where totality will be visible. Other options for viewing this event as a total solar eclipse include Timor-Leste and West Papua. However, it’s Western Australia that has the best chance of a clear sky.
2 – The Great Australasian Eclipse
When: July 22, 2028
Maximum duration: 5 minutes 5 seconds
From Christmas Island, the Cocos Islands, the wild Kimberley coast and the Bungle Bungles of Western Australia, to the Northern Territory’s Karlu Karlu (Devil’s marbles), the Blue Mountains and Sydney Harbour, there are some spectacular places to enjoy a long totality in 2028. If you choose Sydney Harbour then note that South Coogee, Royal Randwick Racecourse and Glebe Markets are on the centerline. Expect massive crowds in Sydney, though most dedicated eclipse-chasers will be in the outback for its longer totality and a higher chance of clear skies.
3 – The South Australia Eclipse
When: November 25, 2030
Maximum duration: 3 minutes 44 seconds
This event requires some big decisions. Totality will occur shortly after sunrise from Namibia’s Skeleton Coast before moving across Durban in South Africa. The path of totality then stretches a remote part of the Indian Ocean before a low-setting eclipsed sunset will be seen from South Australia and into the outback of New South Wales and Queensland. The first Australian view will be had at Streaky Bay on the Eyre Peninsula near Adelaide.
4 – The Red Center Eclipse
When: July 13, 2037
Maximum duration: 3 minutes 58 seconds
No prizes for guessing where the crowds will be for this one, though close to Uluru (Ayers Rock) is also Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and King’s Canyon, which will also both witness totality. So too will outback towns Charleville and Roma, Byron Bay and the Gold Coast, and the remote Lord Howe Island. The North Island of New Zealand will also be an excellent destination for eclipse-chasers—including Ngauruhoe volcano in Tongariro National Park (Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings films).
5 – The Christmas Eclipse
When: December 26, 2038
Maximum duration: 2 minutes 18 seconds
Short, sweet and occurring at the height of summer on Boxing Day, this total solar eclipse will once again traverse all of Australia and New Zealand. Making land at Onslow—which on April 20, 2023 got 99% of an eclipse (so 0% totality)—the path of totality crosses Karjini National Park, the Nullabor Desert and the Murray River valley (with Barmah National Park on the centerline) before exiting Australia at Mallacoota, Victoria. New Zealand’s North and South islands will also have a short totality.
This article was first published on Forbes.com
Pic credit: Pexels.com/Jonas Schallenberg