Total solar eclipse to darken skies across Indonesia and parts of Southeast Asia on Wednesday

Even if you're not one of the lucky people in Indonesia who get to see this year's total eclipse, you may be able to see a partial one if you live in Southeast Asia or northern Australia.

    2016/03/08

NSFW    PALEMBANG, INDONESIA — People across Indonesia will experience a total blackout on Wednesday morning as the moon passes directly in front of the sun, a rare event that happens only twice a year.

On the morning of March 9, a 100-mile-wide total solar eclipse will be visible to viewers in Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia. Viewers north and south of the 100-mile-wide area will be able to see varying amounts of a partial eclipse. According to the Guardian, in central Sumatra, the eclipse will happen almost immediately when the sun rises at about 6:30 a.m. local time. The eclipse will end near Hawaii at about 5:30 p.m. local time.

The total eclipse is expected to last between 90 seconds and four minutes, depending on where the viewer is. It will last the longest in the Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippines.

A solar eclipse like the one expected to occur on March 9 takes place only during a new moon, when the moon’s dark side faces the earth. As the moon passes between the earth and the sun, it casts a full shadow on some parts of the planet and a partial shadow on a wider region of the earth.

New moons occur frequently — 13 times a year to be exact. Yet we don’t see 13 solar eclipses each year because the moon’s orbit is tilted five degrees to the earth’s orbit around the sun. This means the moon is only perfectly aligned between the earth and the sun twice a year.

The next visible solar eclipse will pass through the Western Hemisphere in August of 2017.
The eclipse will happen almost immediately when the sun rises at about 6:30 a.m. local time in central Sumatra. REUTERS
The eclipse will happen almost immediately when the sun rises at about 6:30 a.m. local time in central Sumatra. REUTERS
Viewers across Southeast Asia and in parts of Australia will be able to see varying degrees of the eclipse. NASA
Viewers across Southeast Asia and in parts of Australia will be able to see varying degrees of the eclipse. NASA
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