Spectacular Perth Mint coin celebrates 2023 Total Solar Eclipse
On the 20 April 2023, the light will go out in Exmouth, a popular tourist destination on the sun-drenched, north-west coast of Western Australia.
Best known as the jumping-off point for Australia’s ‘other’ great reef – the World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef – it will offer front row seats to an awe-inspiring natural phenomenon – a total solar eclipse.
Western Australia is already popular with fans of the cosmos. Thanks to the State’s sparse population and lack of light pollution, there are breathtaking opportunities to be enjoyed under the majestic sweep of the Milky Way.
But come late morning on Thursday 20 April, Exmouth, the only town within the line of 'totality’, will experience total darkness for 62 seconds.
Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to travel to the region for this spectacular once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What is a solar eclipse?
A total solar eclipse is where the Sun, Moon and Earth form a straight line.
Because it’s entirely lit from behind, the New Moon is invisible from Earth. However, when it passes between the Earth and the Sun, its black silhouette becomes visible. In other words, the Moon’s shadow falls upon parts of the Earth’s surface.
When the Sun, the Moon and the Earth don’t quite line up, the result of this is a partial solar eclipse. For people in the path of the shadow, it appears the Moon has taken a bite out of the Sun.
However, when all three bodies are in perfect alignment, those directly under the shadow can see the Moon move through the centre of the Sun.
The Exmouth Total Solar Eclipse is a rare hybrid eclipse, a combination of an annular and total solar eclipse.
During an annular eclipse, the edge of the sun remains visible as a bright ring around the moon. A hybrid eclipse is where the distance between the Earth and Moon is so finely balanced, that the curvature of the Earth influences how much the Moon covers the disc of the Sun.
What will Exmouth visitors experience?
Warning: It’s important to state that looking directly at the Sun is dangerous. The Australian government recommends indirect viewing only.
Observers will experience the silhouette of the Moon slowly covering the Sun.
Seconds before totality, the crescent of remaining sunlight will contract until there is a single spot of light on the edge of the lunar disc. Combined with the Sun’s faintly visible ‘corona’ (outer atmosphere), this fleeting occurrence is known as the ’diamond ring effect’.
For just over a minute the Sun will be comprehensively hidden, creating an eerie twilight in Exmouth and over the Ningaloo Reef.
Because the distance between the Earth and Moon will be so delicately balanced, however, specks of light are expected to encircle the Moon’s disc.
Known as Baily’s Beads, after the astronomer who explained them in 1836, they are rays of sunlight beaming through the valleys, craters and other topographical irregularities at the edge of the lunar disc.
Then the Moon will appear to resume its journey, starting its move away from the Sun with a repeat of the diamond ring effect.
In its entirety, the Total Solar Eclipse will take three hours to unfold above the spellbound audience in Exmouth.
Ningaloo Eclipse 2023 2oz Silver Antiqued Coloured Coin
This stunning coin celebrates this magical cosmic phenomenon as seen from one of the most beautiful places on Earth; a humbling moment to pause and contemplate the vast mystery of the Universe and to reflect on our place among the enormous diversity of wildlife – from tiny corals to huge humpback whales – which inhabit the Ningaloo Marine Park; a time to connect with nature’s awe-inspiring majesty.
Superbly crafted from 2oz of 99.99% pure silver, the coin portrays corals and a whale shark, the world’s largest fish, beneath the darkened sky of the Total Solar Eclipse. As a result of advanced finishing techniques, the artistry combines skillfully coloured and antiqued elements, the latter a special treatment conveying the surface abrasions of an ancient artefact.
A limited commemorative piece with a mintage of just 3,000, the coin includes the edge inscription ‘NINGALOO ECLIPSE • 20 APRIL 2023 • 11:27AM’ to mark this unique moment in time.
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