Eclipse 2023

T-2 years until a spectacular ‘coral coast eclipse’

Get planning for totality in Western Australia and Timor Leste

Exactly two years from today a rare ‘hybrid‘ solar eclipse will graze a remote part of Western Australia and bring a totality lasting about 60 seconds.

It’s not getting the publicity it should, probably because few people know what a ‘hybrid’ eclipse really is. For anyone contemplating a visit to Western Australia – or to Timor Leste, where it’s also visible – it’s not really important because for everyone on the ground this will, for all intents and purposes, be a total solar eclipse.

What is a hybrid solar eclipse?

It’s called a ‘hybrid because it’s a bit of both an annular (a so-called ‘ring of fire’) and a total solar eclipse. The Moon’s central shadow is a cone, and during a total solar eclipse, the tip of that cone touches Earth. However, during a hybrid solar eclipse, it only touches the Earth for a short period, transitioning from an annular (where the cone doesn’t touch Earth) to a total, and back again, at two specific points.

On April 20, 2023, those two transition points are at sea, so anyone on the ground in Western Australia and in Timor Leste will experience totality.

How, when and where to watch the 2023 hybrid solar eclipse in Australia

In Western Australia eclipse-chasers will need to be in Exmouth and its Cape Range National Park – or off the coast on Ningaloo Reef – where at 11:29 a.m. just over a minute of totality will occur while the Sun is high in the sky. Exmouth is 1,270 km drive north of Perth, and a 1,400km drive south from Broome. Clear skies are likely.

How, when and where to watch the 2023 hybrid solar eclipse in Timor Leste

A longer 1 minute 16 seconds totality is possible at the beach resort of Com on the eastern coast of Timor-Leste, at 13:18 p.m. local time. It’s a fabulous country of beaches and untouched coral reefs, but very rough roads, and likely cloudy skies.

Where is the 2023 hybrid solar eclipse’s greatest point of duration?

That occurs just off the coast of Timor-Leste. Since that’s just 40 miles north of Darwin, expect many cruise ships and boat trips.

Wherever you choose to observe totality, 2023’s ‘coral coast eclipse’ promises to be a spectacular event viewed from glorious beaches, reefs, and cruise ships.

Image credit: Ben Carless, Unsplash