Western Australia shines in eclipse darkness
- Million watched eclipse around the world
- The spectacular Ningaloo region showcased to global audience.
- Dark Sky Festival events prove to be hugely popular
Western Australia's Total Solar Eclipse is being hailed as a huge success with massive crowds turning out to witness it first-hand in Exmouth, and millions more watching around the world.
Scientists, eclipse chasers and Astro-tourists from around the globe shared a unique experience with thousands of others who were just curious and keen to be part of the occasion.
Mother Nature turned on a remarkable sky-show that was at its most impressive over the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area, with teams from 14 different State agencies combining with local and Federal Government, and private business operators to put on an outstanding week-long experience right across the region.
Exmouth's population had already swelled to around 15,000 people who had accommodation in the town, and day trippers boosted visitor numbers to a peak of around 18,700 within Exmouth and surrounding areas.
The Milyering Visitor Centre in Cape Range National Park had the highest number of visitors on record - almost 1,300 people.
Large crowds were also in Onslow and Coral Bay to experience around 99% darkness, and in Carnarvon which experienced about 95 per cent darkness.
Extra police and emergency services personnel were on hand and reported that crowds were extremely well-behaved, adding to the positive atmosphere and focussed on making the most of an exceptional astronomical experience, in a unique environment.
Data recorded yesterday - using the latest sophisticated equipment - will add to the body of global scientific knowledge centred around the effect on the earth's atmosphere, and the extremely high temperatures of the Sun's corona (the outermost part of the Sun's atmosphere) in particular.
What happened at ground level during the Total Solar Eclipse, including how animals respond, was also of keen interest to a number of scientists in Western Australia's Ningaloo region yesterday.
The Time and Date website recorded 10.5 million views of its Eclipse live stream. This was one of many different sites beaming the eclipse globally.
As the Total Solar Eclipse came to an end in the early afternoon, crowds prepared to party-on, with 5,000 people attending events including the second night of Solfest, a free three-day festival on Exmouth's Talanjee Oval, First Lights: Nyinggulu on Exmouth's Town Beach, the Street Party on Onslow's Foreshore - and a number of other free and ticketed events in towns across the region.
The Exmouth shuttle bus service proved extremely popular with 2,700 people using it last night and 2,000 in the morning.
The Dark Sky Festival and other celebrations will continue into the weekend and the message to visitors as they start to head home is clear - be prepared for more traffic than usual; be patient, kind and courteous. Do all you can to ensure you, your family, friends and everyone around you has a safe journey home, taking memories to last a lifetime.
Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Roger Cook:
"We can all be immensely proud - of our State, and everyone who has planned for so long, and worked so hard to give visitors an experience to remember.
"The Total Solar Eclipse over Exmouth, Western Australia, has not only focussed the eyes of the world on our spectacular natural environment, but shown that we know how to put on a sensational show and give visitors an experience to remember.
"It has also showcased Western Australia's capabilities and potential as a centre of collaboration and knowledge building - in all areas of science, space operations, technology and innovation.
"A huge 'thank you' to everyone who has made this whole week such a success and worked so hard to create a safe and truly memorable experience."
Minister's office - 6552 6500