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. 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 startled wildlife.
 
The rare astronomical phenomenon was witnessed along a narrow path. It stretched across 12 Indonesian provinces. The eclipse encompassed three time zones and about 40 million people. 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 substantial tourism boost. Some tour groups chartered ships to view the eclipse, which began in the Indian Ocean and ended in the Pacific, at sea. A dozen Americans joined a commercial flight from Anchorage, Alaska, to Honolulu because its flight 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 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, a Sigi resident who witnessed the eclipse with his family using 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 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, with people papering windows and keeping 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 from 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 who 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 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, which began with the first patch of darkness appearing on the edge of the sun, lasted about three hours.
 
For the viewer, the length of time the sun was totally eclipsed depended on their location along the path. On land the durations were mostly between 1 and 3 minutes.
 
In the capital, Jakarta, thousands of residents packed a planetarium at a downtown park where officials distributed about 4,000 filtered viewing glasses that quickly ran out. The eclipse, which from the vantage point of Jakarta produced an impressive crescent, 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 (8)
  • coryk-1-nic
    3/17/2016 - 07:28 a.m.

    An eclipse is a time that the moon blocks out the sun. This happened in asia. We didn't see it because it was night time here.

  • taylorl-3-bar
    3/17/2016 - 12:17 p.m.

    We didn't see the eclipse in America because complete darkness struck in Asia. Like the passage said, "none of America saw the eclipse." I chose this article because I was also wondering why it didn't show.

  • kayah-4-bar
    3/18/2016 - 03:04 a.m.

    We didn't see the eclipse in America because the eclipsed appeared in Indonesia and the eclipse wasn't able to be seen all the way from Indonesia to America.The eclipse is something that happens very rarely. For the viewer, the length of time the sun was totally eclipsed depended on their location along the path. On land the durations were mostly between 1 and 3 minutes. Paragraph 16. This was an interesting article because eclipse are a once in a life time thing that happens.

  • luisg-ver
    3/18/2016 - 10:02 a.m.

    That's really cool and scary at the same time. Just imagine walking outside and seeing that.

  • alexp2-ver
    3/18/2016 - 02:20 p.m.

    We didn't see the solar eclipse in America because we are on the opposite side of the world. When the moon is in front of the moon in Asia, the moon in North America looks like it's farther way since of the moons rotation around our Earth.

  • alijas-ver
    3/18/2016 - 03:25 p.m.

    I think that this happening is very cool. I would find it interesting if this happened to us, but also kinda scary because of the things I hear that happen during eclispe. But this is a cool thing, and I never believed they were actually real until now. I wanna see one for myself one day.

  • leeannaw-wes
    3/21/2016 - 09:11 a.m.

    We didn't see it because it was competle dark ness over there so we couldn't see anything and I was also asking why didn't it show because it was so dark we couldn't see it.....

  • carmenh-orv
    5/01/2016 - 11:32 p.m.

    since the moon circles around the earth and America and Asia have different times zone we weren't able to see it from America

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