Legacy of darkness 62 seconds of totality

Published on:
Monday, 28 August, 2023

The total solar eclipse created a huge buzz in and outside of Western Australia.

While a Total Solar Eclipse occurs somewhere on Earth every 18 months, it is incredibly rare that it happens over land.

Located perfectly under the path for a 100 per cent solar eclipse, Exmouth, in the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo region, was the epicentre of Astro excitement. At 11:29am on Thursday 20th April, the sun, moon and Earth perfectly aligned to create total darkness for 62 seconds.

Onslow and Coral Bay experienced 99 per cent darkness while Carnarvon experienced a 95 per cent eclipse.

Over 250 staff and performers descended into Exmouth and Onslow on 37 different flights including three charters, with nine road trains and four semi-trailers of festival and concert production equipment needed for 102 activations in 13 different venues to create the Dark Sky Festival. It was the largest logistical entertainment event that has been staged across the Shires of Exmouth and Ashburton.

The Total Solar Eclipse went global with the Time and Date website broadcasting a live feed that attracted over 10.5 million views. There was significant media interest around the world with a dozen national and international media outlets sending crews to Exmouth to cover the event. Stories ran in The New York Times, Forbes, CNN, BBC, TIME and National Geographic. Nationally, the Total Solar Eclipse featured in 968 media items across print, radio and television between April 18 and 21, 2023.

With 80 per cent of the world’s population now living under light-polluted skies, Western Australia is in a unique position when it comes to Dark Sky tourism.

Carol Redford, CEO and founder of Astrotourism WA said Western Australia’s night sky is an asset worth protecting.

“Communities around WA are working to keep the night sky as dark as possible by reducing light pollution. While we’re protecting our night sky, we’re inviting visitors from around the world to share its beauty. At the same time, we’re growing our understanding of how stargazing brings people together.”

The Total Solar Eclipse is just the beginning of a legacy for the ongoing and future dark sky tourism in the Shires of Carnarvon, Ashburton and Exmouth.

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