RI to be only country to view total solar eclipse
Hans Nicholas Jong
The Jakarta Post
Parts of Indonesia will experience a total solar eclipse on March 9 this year, the first time since 1995. The next total solar eclipse to hit Indonesia will be in 2023.
The rare event will be consecutively visible in 11 provinces: Bengkulu, Jambi, South Sumatra, Bangka Belitung, West Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, West Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi and North Maluku.
'This year, Indonesia will be the only area to see [the total solar eclipse]. The rest of the total solar eclipse will traverse the Pacific, heading toward Guam,' National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) head Thomas Djamaludin told The Jakarta Post.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, totally or partly obscuring the image of the sun for a viewer on earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon's apparent diameter is larger than the sun's, blocking all direct sunlight and turning day into darkness.
Indonesia last experienced a total solar eclipse in 1988, visible from Bangka Belitung and South Sumatra.
'This year's solar eclipse in South Sumatra and Bangka Belitung will be similar to the one in 1988. The difference this time is that it will turn toward the southern part of Kalimantan and pass Central Sulawesi, part of South Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, West Sulawesi and North Maluku,' Thomas said.
The last time a total solar eclipse passed over the country was in 1995, lasting only two minutes and visible only from Sangihe, a small island in North Sulawesi.
Since independence, Indonesia has experienced 18 partial solar eclipses, nine total solar eclipses and six annular solar eclipses.
A partial solar eclipse occurs when the moon blocks only part of the sun's disk, while an annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon is too far away to completely cover the sun's disk, forming a ring of light.
Other parts of Indonesia will experience partial solar eclipse along with parts of Southeast Asia, such as Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Manila and Bangkok, as well as northern and eastern Australia.
While the total solar eclipse will see more than 90 percent of the sun covered, from Java 50 to 60 percent will be covered.
The total solar eclipse will last for around three minutes in the eastern part of Indonesia starting from 9 a.m. local time, while the western part will experience eclipse for around two minutes at 7:30 a.m. local time.
The natural phenomenon is expected to attract domestic and foreign tourists. According to Central Sulawesi Tourism Agency head Siti Mardjanu, up to 3,000 tourists from 12 countries will visit the province to witness the total solar eclipse.
The total solar eclipse will also attract foreign researchers, with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scheduled to join a team of researchers from LAPAN.
Four NASA researchers will observe the eclipse in Maba, Halmahera, North Maluku.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), meanwhile, will begin studying the total solar eclipse one month before the event.
'We will study the magnitude of the change in magnetic field caused by the total solar eclipse. We will start monitoring one month before the eclipse, during the eclipse and one month after it,' Jaya Murjaya from the BMKG told the Post on Thursday.
' JP/Hans Nicholas Jong
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