Solar eclipse plunges much of Indonesia into day-time darkness

A total solar eclipse plunged parts of the Indonesian archipelago into eerie day-time darkness on Wednesday. 

Astronomy lovers and stargazers from around the world have flocked to remote Indonesian locales, as far as Ternate island in the Moluccan chain, to observe the rare celestial phenomenon.

Totality, when the whole sun disappears behind the moon from the standpoint of the viewer, was visible in 12 of 34 Indonesian provinces for between 1.5 and 3 minutes starting at 7:21 local time (0021 GMT), according to the Indonesian Aeronautics and Space Agency.

Local viewers cheered and shouted "Allahu Akbar (God is Great)" as the eclipse reached totality in Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi province.

"It's an amazing sight," an astronomy lover told TVOne broadcaster. "Seeing this phenomenon together with all these people is a great feeling."

Muslims also flocked to mosques across the country to offer prayers, while Hindus on the Indonesian resort island of Bali meditated in their homes as the event coincided with the Hindu holiday of Nyepi, or the Balinese Day of Silence.

Hotels in cities such as Palembang, Palangka Raya, Palu and Ternate had been fully booked days before the event, with some places offering concerts and other attractions to welcome visitors.

The Ministry of Tourism said more than 10,000 foreigners have come especially for the event.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon gets between the Earth and the sun, and thus casting a shadow over the Earth.

Last update: Wed, 09/03/2016 - 07:43
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