Asia and Pacific witness solar eclipse

Asia and Pacific witness solar eclipse

Asia and Pacific witness solar eclipse

Written by Ranee Mohamed

09 Mar, 2016 | 6:08 am

Millions of people across Indonesia and the Pacific are witnessing a total solar eclipse. At 06:19 local time (23:19 GMT Tuesday), the Moon started to pass directly in front of the Sun.

When it reaches totality, this will block all direct sunlight, turning day into night.The eclipse will be total in Indonesia and the Central Pacific, while parts of Australia and east Asia will experience a partial one.

People along a 150km-wide strip running through Sumatra, Borneo and Sulawesi – the path of eclipse totality – will experience a blackout for about four hours on Wednesday morning.

Astronomers reiterated advice not to look directly at the Sun with the naked eye, or through a telescope. Experts recommend using either a professional solar filter in front of a telescope or camera, or special eclipse-viewing glasses.

The total eclipse begins at 00:15 GMT, with the moment of maximum shadow at 01:59 GMT.

The celestial event will end at sunset, local time, north of Hawaii (04:34 GMT). Because the eclipse path crosses the International Date Line, in the local time zones it begins on Wednesday 9 March and ends on Tuesday 8 March.

Skywatchers in southern China, south-east Asia, Australia, Hawaii and Alaska will experience a partial eclipse when the Moon’s penumbra – the outer region of the shadow – catches them. This will look as if a just a chunk of the Sun has been blacked out.

For eclipse watchers outside these regions, a number of astronomy institutes are hosting live streams of the event.

Scientists at Nasa said they planned to use the event to study solar physics.

From Indonesia, they will use an instrument called a polarization camera to capture 59 exposures of the Sun in just over three minutes, collecting data on the innermost parts of the sun’s volatile, superheated atmosphere.

This region can only be observed during total solar eclipses when the Sun’s bright face is completely blocked by the Moon.

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