April’s total solar eclipse over Ningaloo: the first of five for Australia

Astronomical Society of Australia

April’s total solar eclipse over Ningaloo:

the first of five for Australia

At 11.29 am AWST on Thursday 20 April 2023 the sun will disappear over Ningaloo. It will reappear a minute later.

The rest of Australia will experience a partial eclipse, and a chance to prepare for the big one, a total eclipse over Sydney in 2028.

“Our last total solar eclipse was in November 2012, with Cairns right in the path of totality,” says amateur astronomer and eclipse chaser Terry Cuttle. “It’s been over a decade’s wait for another Aussie eclipse, so I’m on my way to Exmouth and Ningaloo – I wouldn’t miss it for the world!”

“Solar eclipses are spectacular,” says President of the Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA) Professor John Lattanzio. “Australia really is the lucky country with five total eclipses visible in various parts of the country over the next 15 years.”

Any single location on Earth is only likely to see a total eclipse once every few hundred years.

Dr Hessom Razavi of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO), and the Lions Eye Institute, warns people to, “Never look directly at the Sun. It can cause serious and permanent eye damage, and that’s true even during a solar eclipse. Children’s eyes are especially vulnerable to damage”.

According to the ASA, the best ways to observe an eclipse are through:

  • special-purpose ‘eclipse glasses’ or hand-held solar viewers with solar filters that meet the international standard
  • using pinhole projection through a large card with a two-millimetre hole in the centre to project an image of the Sun onto another surface held about a metre away.

RANZCO advises that using solar eclipse glasses still carries some risks, so people must make sure their glasses meet the ISO 12312 2 standard and that they read and follow all safety advice and precautions, ensuring that there are no scratches or other damage. According to RANZCO, the only way to guarantee the prevention of solar retinopathy is to avoid all forms of direct sun viewing.

The ASA has created a comprehensive website at eclipse.asa.astronomy.org.au including sections on:

/Public Release.