Total eclipse darkens Asia In this photo taken on Wednesday, March 9, 2016, a partial solar eclipse is seen behind passenger capsules of the Singapore Flyer, in Singapore. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
Total eclipse darkens Asia
Lexile

Many people gazed at the sky in wonder and cheered while others knelt in prayer.  This was as a total eclipse of the sun unfolded over Indonesia on March 9. It briefly plunged cities into darkness and it startled wildlife.
 
The rare astronomical occurrence was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across 12 Indonesian provinces. It included three time zones. About 40 million people could see it. A partial eclipse was visible in other parts of the Indonesian archipelago, a swath of Asia and in northern Australia.
 
Thousands of eclipse-chasers flocked to Indonesia from abroad.  The government has been promoting the event for more than a year and had forecast a sizable tourism boost. Some tour groups chartered ships to view the eclipse. The event began at sea in the Indian Ocean and ended in the Pacific. A dozen Americans joined a commercial flight from Anchorage, Alaska, to Honolulu. They took that flight because its path would rendezvous with an eclipse sweet spot north of Hawaii.
 
Thousands that gathered in Sigi Biromaru, a hilltop town in Indonesia's Central Sulawesi province, shouted and clapped. They watched as the sun transformed into a dark orb for more than two minutes. Hundreds of others prayed at nearby mosques.
 
"The sun totally disappeared. How amazing this sunny morning suddenly changed to dark," said Junaz Amir. He is a Sigi resident who witnessed the eclipse with his family. They used special protective glasses.
 
Ternate was one of the last cities in the eclipse's path. Some residents said they were viewing it by looking at the reflected image in bowls of water. Experts say the total eclipse can be viewed with the naked eye. However, specific filters should be used during its partial phases. The filters help to avoid permanent damage to the retina.
 
Most eclipses are partial. But when the moon is close enough to the Earth, the sun is completely eclipsed by the moon's shadow. Only a spectacular ring of rays known as the corona is visible.
 
The last time a total eclipse occurred over Indonesia was in 1988. Unfounded fears and misinformation caused panic. People papered over windows and kept children indoors.
 
Cloudy skies in parts of Indonesia dampened the spectacle for some. In Palembang, a Sumatran city of more than 1.4 million, thousands of residents gathered at its landmark Ampera Bridge. They arrived well before dawn. But the total eclipse was only briefly visible if at all.
 
"Too bad we cannot see when the total solar eclipse occurred. But the dark atmosphere when it happened made us feel happy," said Palembang resident Martha Sembiring.
 
There was also disappointment for a group of six eclipse chasers. They traveled from Canada and the U.S. to Kalimantan.
 
"Unfortunately we got nothing because we had rain showers and solid cloud," said optometrist Ralph Chou. He was hoping to see his 19th total solar eclipse.
 
Chou is a Canadian. He helped develop the international standards for eclipse filters. He said there were still impressive effects of light and darkness. Birds appeared confused and disoriented by dark falling again after dawn.
 
The previous total solar eclipse was in March last year. It was best viewed on Norway's Svalbard islands. The islands are near the North Pole. The next total eclipse will occur in August 2017. It will be visible over a slice of North America.
 
The entire eclipse lasted about three hours. It began with the first patch of darkness appearing on the edge of the sun.
 
For the viewer, the length of time the sun was totally eclipsed depended on location along the path. On land, the durations were mostly between 1 and 3 minutes.
 
In Jakarta, thousands of residents packed a planetarium at a downtown park. Officials distributed about 4,000 filtered viewing glasses that quickly ran out. The eclipse produced an impressive crescent from the vantage point of Jakarta. The eclipse was also streamed on monitors around the planetarium.
 
Scientists from NASA and Indonesia's aerospace agency observed the eclipse from Maba in the Maluku islands.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why didn't we see the eclipse in America?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (67)
  • antoniov-ver
    3/16/2016 - 02:46 p.m.

    I want to see an eclipse.

  • aidenb2-kut
    3/16/2016 - 09:14 p.m.

    I didn't know that Asia had an eclipse also I didn't know they happen that frequently I learned new words and many other things.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    3/16/2016 - 09:41 p.m.

    The total eclipse might have been able to happen in some parts of Asia which the total solar eclipse had happened for a lot of times in Asia which some people can be able to see partial eclipse that happened in Asia. The scientists might have been able to predicted that the next total solar eclipse is most likely to be happening in America which people would be able to see the total eclipse if it will happen. The people might have been waiting until the moment that the prediction of the total solar eclipse would most likely to be happening in America with the prediction. People might have wanted to see the total solar eclipse which people would most likely to be wanting to be seeing in America which they would make everything confusing.
    Critical Thinking Question: Why didn't we see the eclipse in America?
    Answer: We weren't able to see any total eclipse in America because an eclipse doesn't really happen in America.

  • austinm-kut
    3/17/2016 - 07:55 a.m.

    WOW! This sounds like a really cool thing to witness (even though you couldn't see it).I feel bad for the eclipse chasers because they didn't get to see any thing cool, just darkness. I just feel that it is soooo cool that all you can see from the sun are the rays. I just wonder why this happens? All in all this is SUPER COOL and i would love to see it.

    • cavelil0-dil
      3/23/2016 - 01:52 p.m.

      I agree it is sad that they didn't see the eclipse.

  • gabbys-nic
    3/17/2016 - 09:32 a.m.

    We did not see the eclipse in America because Indonesia is across the world. The people in Indonesia were probably so happy to see how the eclipse works. It happens when the moon goes in front of the sun and causes the part of the world to go dark.

  • maxwellt-2-bar
    3/17/2016 - 09:34 p.m.

    We, the citizens of the United states, did not see the solar eclipse because solar eclipses happen when "the sun is completely eclipsed by the moon's shadow". However, the moon blocking the sun's light produces a shadow visible from earth, the outer edge is known as the penumbra and the umbra is the inner area. Anyone within the umbra during a solar eclipse can see a total solar eclipse, and anyone in the penumbra can see a partial solar eclipse. further, the moon is only about one-fourth the Earth's size, and it's shadow doesn't fall upon most land areas on the surface. This particular eclipse's shadow did not fall upon the United States. This article interested me because the picture was enough to alert me to the content of the article.????????????

  • briannt-3-bar
    3/18/2016 - 12:15 a.m.

    We didn't see the eclipse in America because Asia is across the world, or on the other side of the world. The eclipse in Indonesia was about 2 minutes long with darkness all around. Even the birds were confused with the total darkness. Most people stayed inside with paper taped to the windows so their families wouldn't have problems with their eyes. The eclipse was so strong for our eyes. The next total eclipse will be in August 2017. Also, other people were in churches, or church like places and prayed. People could see the eclipse in the reflection of their water bowls. The total eclipse is when the sun is closer to Earth. A group of people traveled far this eclipse but couldn't see it because of the rain and cloudy sky. The guy was going to see his 19th eclipse but didn't so he has seen 18 eclipses. I have seen none, and I really want to see one. I choose this article because one of my favorite movie series is named the Eclipse, the Twilight Series, Edward and Isabella forever. Also after reading it, it was good and interesting. I can't wait for the next eclipse, and hopefully I don't forget.

    • cavelil0-dil
      3/23/2016 - 01:55 p.m.

      I like the eclipse and the movie i have the new one

  • lexiev-kut
    3/18/2016 - 08:08 a.m.

    because the eclipse was in asia that is on the other side of us we have diffrent times then asia.

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