WA gears up for 2023 solar eclipse dollars

Western Australia will be one of the best places in the world to view next year’s rare solar eclipse.

The eclipse on April 20, 2023, will happen as the moon passes between the earth and the sun, totally blocking its light – but only if you are in the right place.

Western Australia will be one of the best places in the world to view next year’s solar eclipse. Credit:AP

Dubbed the Ningaloo Eclipse, the phenomenon is expected to attract more than 20,000 domestic and international visitors to Exmouth in WA’s north.

The resort town, with a population of about 2000, is one of the most accessible land-based destinations in the world that will experience the full darkness of the eclipse, the WA government says.

It will also be visible from other places in Australia, but only partially.

“This includes Perth, which will witness a 70 per cent eclipse, Coral Bay will experience a 99 per cent partial eclipse while Geraldton will see just over 80 per cent,” the government says.

Solar eclipses happen at least twice a year, according to the Sydney Observatory, but events where the moon completely covers the sun are rare.

Exmouth is expected to experience full darkness for just over a minute, at 11.27am on Thursday, April 20.

The WA Labor government is preparing to help Exmouth cash in on the tourism surge expected to be generated by the phenomenon and will promote the state as a destination for stargazers.

In a joint statement, Planning Minister Rita Saffioti and Tourism Minister Roger Cook announced changes to planning laws in the Shire of Exmouth.

This will allow an estimated 600 private landholders to offer accommodation for visitors, including campsites.

“Not only will these changes ensure we’re able to accommodate the thousands of expected visitors, they’ll allow private landowners the opportunity to benefit from this unique tourism opportunity,” Ms Saffioti said on Friday.

Sydney will also be treated to a solar eclipse, but not until 2028.

The eclipse will be able to be seen at 2pm on July 22 that year, when the moon will fully cover the sun for three minutes and 50 seconds, Sydney Observatory says on its website.

“This event is rarely visible from a large city like Sydney because large cities are less likely to be in the direct line of the eclipse,” it adds.

“This is simply because there are many more smaller towns than there are larger cities.”


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