A rare spectacle took place in the small western Australian coastal town of Exmouth on Thursday afternoon (local time): Thousands of people watched a total solar eclipse for about 58 seconds. Onlookers from all over the world cheered on a viewing platform that had been pre-erected about 20 kilometers outside of town as the moon completely covered the sun, darkening the sky. "It was overwhelming," NASA astronomer Henry Throop told ABC. "It only lasted a minute, but it felt like a long time." The spectacle was particularly visible in western Australia, but people in the metropolises of Sydney and Melbourne were also able to observe a partial solar eclipse in the afternoon.
The sky event was a so-called hybrid solar eclipse, a mixture of a total and an annular solar eclipse. The moon does not cover the sun completely, at the beginning and end a sun ring can be seen. The phenomenon accounts for only about three percent of all solar eclipses and is not expected again until November 2031. In addition to Australia, the eclipse could also be seen in East Timur, West New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines.