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

  • Liberals' promise on marijuana legalization going up in smoke, say NDP leadership candidates

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    MONTREAL — The Liberal government’s plan to move ahead on marijuana legalization is up in smoke, NDP leadership candidates suggested during Sunday’s leadership debate in Montreal while they also addressed a range of issues affecting youth including student debt and precarious work. Source
  • Donald Trump blasts conservatives on Twitter over health care bill failure

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday attacked conservative lawmakers for the failure of the Republican bill to replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law, as aides signalled a greater willingness to work with moderate Democrats on upcoming legislative battles from the budget and tax cuts to health care. Source
  • Hundreds arrested during protests across Russia, including Putin opponent [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    MOSCOW — Russia’s opposition, often written off by critics as a small and irrelevant coterie of privileged urbanites, put on an impressive nationwide show of strength Sunday with scores of protest rallies spanning the vast country. Hundreds were arrested, including Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who is President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critic. Source
  • 'It was just crazy'; Deadly shooting at Cincinnati's Cameo club [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    CINCINNATI — A gunfight broke out inside a crowded Cincinnati nightclub early Sunday, leaving one man dead and 15 others wounded after a dispute among several patrons escalated into a shootout, authorities said. No suspects were in custody by late afternoon in the shooting at the Cameo club, which has a history of gun violence, and police said there was no indication of any terrorism link. Source
  • 'Swirl face' sex offender Christopher Neil to make home in Vancouver

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    VANCOUVER — High-risk sex offender Christopher Paul Neil, once known as 'Swirl face," has recently been released from prison and plans to live in Vancouver. According to a public notification Sunday by the Corrections Branch of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, the 42-year-old former teacher has a pattern of sexual offending behaviour against both pre and early pubescent boys. Source
  • 4 people found dead in home near Ashcroft, B.C.

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Police are investigating after four people were found dead inside a home in Venables Valley near Ashcroft on Friday afternoon. Ashcroft RCMP responded to a request for a well-being check at the home and discovered the bodies, said a police press release. Source
  • Republicans struggling to govern

    World News Toronto Sun
    The Republican Party of “no” for Democrat Barack Obama’s eight years is having a hard time getting to “yes” in the early Donald Trump era. The unmitigated failure of the GOP bill to replace Obamacare underscored that Republicans are a party of upstart firebrands, old-guard conservatives and moderates in Democratic-leaning districts. Source
  • Donald Trump faces obstacles building 'big, beautiful' border wall

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump has now laid out exactly what he wants in the “big, beautiful wall” that he’s promised to build on the U.S.-Mexico border. But his effort to build a huge hurdle to those entering the U.S. Source
  • Al-Qaida leader Qari Yasin killed in U.S. airstrike, Pentagon confirms

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — A U.S. counterterrorism airstrike earlier this month in Afghanistan killed an al-Qaida leader responsible for a deadly hotel attack in Islamabad in 2008 and the 2009 attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team, the Pentagon said Saturday. Source
  • Trump's 'big, beautiful' border wall faces many roadblocks

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump has now laid out exactly what he wants in the "big, beautiful wall" that he's promised to build on the U.S.-Mexico border. But his effort to build a huge hurdle to those entering the U.S. Source