Prayers, cheers as total eclipse darkens swathe of Indonesia

PALEMBANG, Indonesia -- People gazed at the sky in wonder and cheered while others knelt in prayer as a total eclipse of the sun unfolded over Indonesia on Wednesday.

See Full Article

The rare astronomical phenomenon was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across 12 provinces encompassing three time zones and about 40 million people. In other parts of the Indonesian archipelago and Asia, a partial eclipse was visible.

Thousands of eclipse-chasers came from abroad and the government, which has been the promoting the event for more than a year, forecast a substantial tourism boost. Some tour groups chartered ships to view the eclipse, which began in the Indian Ocean, at sea.

Thousands of men, women and children gathered in Sigi Biromaru, a hilltop town of 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 glasses that protect the eyes.

Most eclipses are partial but when the moon is close enough to the Earth, the sun is completely eclipsed by the moon's shadow and only a faint ring of rays known as the corona is visible.

The previous total solar eclipse was in March last year and was best viewed on Norway's Svalbard islands near the North Pole. The next total eclipse will occur in August 2017 and be visible over North America.

"I'm so happy that I can see this rare phenomenon in my life," said Nurjanah Hassan, a mother of three in Ternate in eastern Indonesia, one of the last cities in the eclipse's path.

Hassan said she and other residents use bowls filled with water to view the eclipse. Experts say the total eclipse can be viewed with the naked eye but filters should be used during its partial phases to avoid permanent damage to the retina.

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. The moments in which the sun was entirely eclipsed lasted between 90 seconds and 4 minutes though 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.

Cloudy skies in parts of Indonesia dampened the spectacle for some.

"It is now dark here, but unfortunately, we cannot see the sun. It is totally covered by clouds," said Hery Gus in Bengkulu, a southwestern province of Sumatra.

Scientists from NASA and Indonesia's aerospace agency observed the eclipse from Maba in the Maluku islands.

------

Wright reported from Jakarta. Ali Kotarumalos and Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, George Rajaloa in Ternate, and Abdy Mari in Sigi Biromaru contributed.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • America first? Trump pushes aside Montenegro Prime Minster Markovic during NATO photocall

    World News Toronto Sun
    BRUSSELS — President Donald Trump’s push to get in front of the pack at a NATO summit generated indignation in the Balkans and garnered attention on social media — but the man he shoved aside took it in stride. Source
  • Skydiver wearing a wingsuit crashes, dies in California

    World News CTV News
    SAN FRANCISCO -- The skydiver who fell to his death in a California vineyard was wearing a specialized jumpsuit that resembles a flying squirrel and undertaking an extreme but growing sport that can send people soaring through the air at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour (322 kilometres per hour. Source
  • Shocking images show torture, executions by Iraqi soldiers

    World News CTV News
    Warning: This story and the accompanying video include graphic images and descriptions of torture. A photojournalist who embedded with an elite group of Iraqi soldiers has documented point-blank executions and brutal torture of what appear to be civilians. Source
  • Maryland day care worker allegedly recorded herself torturing baby

    World News Toronto Sun
    BALTIMORE — A day care worker in Maryland was captured on video “torturing” an 8-month-old girl who later died, authorities said Thursday. She has been charged with murder. Leah Walden, 23, is charged with murder, assault, child abuse and reckless endangerment in the death of Reese Bowman at Rocket Tiers Learning Center on Tuesday, Baltimore Police said in a statement. Source
  • Woman finds her stolen car — but then it gets stolen again after police take hours to respond

    Canada News CBC News
    A bizarre car theft has left a Brampton woman angry with Peel Regional Police, after she found her stolen vehicle but then waited hours for help from law enforcement. So long, in fact, that the car went missing a second time. Source
  • Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner now a focus of Russia probe [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation. Source
  • Spry woman jumps on hood of SUV to thwart carjacking [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    What would you do if someone tried to steal your vehicle right in front of you? For one Wisconsin resident, the answer is simple: Go all Martin Riggs and jump on its hood. Melissa Smith was the victim of an attempted carjacking while filling up at a gas station in downtown Milwaukee Tuesday afternoon. Source
  • Grits fork over another $30M to keep Canada at F-35 table

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Canada has quietly paid another $30 million toward development of the F-35 — money that could become insurance in the trade dispute between U.S. aerospace firm Boeing and Canadian rival Bombardier. The annual payment was made to the U.S. Source
  • Annual G7 meeting coming to Quebec next year

    Canada News CBC News
    Canada will play host to next year's meeting of G7 leaders at a remote luxury resort in the Charlevoix region of Quebec, The Canadian Press has learned. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to make the announcement at some point during this year's G7 meetings, which get underway Friday in Sicily. Source
  • Trump administration to appeal latest block to travel ban to U.S. Supreme Court [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination,” a federal appeals court said Thursday in ruling against the executive order targeting six Muslim-majority countries. Source