TWICE IN THE LAST FIFTY YEARS

JJK e-magazine - - JOURNEYS -

In 2014, it was an­nounced that a so­lar eclipse would oc­cur on March 9, 2016. The to­tal eclipse would move from the In­dian Ocean near South Pa­gai Is­land in West Su­ma­tra and pass through a num­ber of In­done­sian prov­inces, end­ing at the Pa­cific Ocean near Hawaii. The ar­chi­pel­ago has now wit­nessed two so­lar eclipses in the last fifty years, with the pre­vi­ous one oc­cur­ring in 1983. While that eclipse was vis­i­ble from ar­eas of Java, Su­lawesi, and Pa­pua, this year’s eclipse was mainly seen in Palem­bang in South Su­ma­tra, the Bangka and Beli­tung Is­lands, Palangkaraya in Cen­tral Kal­i­man­tan, Palu in Cen­tral Su­lawesi, Ter­nate Is­land in North Maluku, and Halma­hera in the Moluc­cas. Other parts of In­done­sia, such as Jakarta and Bali, were treated only to a par­tial eclipse. As a fan of as­tron­omy, I was keen to wit­ness this phe­nom­e­non. Even though this was to be the sec­ond to­tal eclipse in the last fifty years, an­other would not be oc­cur­ring again for at least 350 years. This ob­vi­ously meant that it was a once in a life­time ex­pe­ri­ence. I be­gan to make prepa­ra­tions early.

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