A tiny Australian town with fewer than 3,000 residents had an influx of thousands of tourists Thursday, all to bear witness to a rare solar eclipse.
The remote coastal town of Exmouth welcomed about 20,000 eclipse chasers, who flocked to the area after it was promoted as one of the best vantage points to view the celestial event.
The hybrid solar eclipse, also known as an annular-total eclipse, is a rare type of eclipse where the moon's shadow passes over the Earth, but the moon and sun appear to be almost the same size, resulting in a "ring of fire" as the sun peeks from behind the moon. Then, at some points the moon comes closer to the Earth, blocking out the sun entirely.
Such events only happen about once every 10 years. The last was in 2013, and the next one isn't expected until 2031.
Americans would have had to travel pretty far to experience the event, like one tourist who flew 42 hours. But there's no need to worry if you missed it because several other eclipses are happening soon, and will be much easier to catch.
NASA recently released maps showing the paths of two upcoming solar eclipses that will track across several major U.S. cities.
On Oct. 14, an annular solar eclipse will be seen from the Texas Gulf Coast to the Oregon Pacific Coast. Then in April 2024, a total solar eclipse will track across the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
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