How we are preparing for the 2023 Solar Eclipse

The Shire of Ashburton is currently working with Astrotourism WA’s Carol Redford, and Dr.  Kate Russo, Founder of Being in the Shadow to implement a series of activities that will position Onslow and the Shire of Ashburton as a location to view the 2023 eclipse and to identify a long-term strategy for future events.

Dr. Kate Russo is an Australian eclipse chaser who is recognised as an international authority on the totality experience, and community eclipse planning. She is now leading the Ashburton Eclipse & Dark Sky Steering Group, which will carry out the countdown to 2023.

Carol Redford, founder of Astrotourism WA, promotes the protection of the State's dark night sky, increasing economic benefits for the regional tourism industry. Carol will provide strategic direction for Dark Sky Tourism.

To coincide with the one-year countdown to the eclipse, both Kate and Carol will visit the Shire to undertake a program of talks, meetings, workshops, and events that aim to raise awareness about the 2023 solar eclipse. The Shire will also work to involve businesses and aid them in leveraging emerging opportunities.

Looking through special solar filters, you will see the Moon appear as a black disc blocking the Sun. As more of the Sun is covered, you may notice your environment change, including a drop in temperature and changes in light quality. Once the Sun is over 95% covered, these changes will become more noticeable.

At 99% you will notice darkening in the sky in the distance, and it may feel 'eerie'. Even though only a tiny sliver of the Sun remains, the sky is still 10,000 times too bright, although it will still be a memorable experience.  Remember it is never safe to look directly at the Sun.

Only when in the path of totality when the Sun is fully covered will you experience the sudden rush of darkness into totality, and the full awe and intense emotions are experienced. Only within the path will you see the key features of totality - the diamond rings, corona, Baily's beads, chromosphere, and prominences.

The eclipse will be high in the sky and will take around three hours. You should occasionally use your filters to look up and view the eclipse progression.

While waiting, you can do some interesting experiments, such as recording any drop in temperature or using a pinhole to project the crescent Sun onto another surface. You can also observe interesting changes to your shadow.

While you can view the eclipse from anywhere, it is great to join in a crowd. Viewing locations will be arranged across the Shire.