Asians See the Anticlockwise Total Solar Eclipse

Narrated Abu Bakr (RA): Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said: “The sun & the moon are the two signs of Allah and they do not eclipse because of the death of someone, but Allah frightens His slaves or devotees with them.” (Hadith No. 1048 , Book of The Eclipses, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2).

Millions of Muslims across southeast Asia and the Pacific have experienced a total solar eclipse, with parts of the region falling into complete darkness.

Because this eclipse passes across the International Date Line, in the local time zones it begins on Wednesday 9 March and ends on Tuesday 8 March.

The eclipse began at 06:19 local time (23:19 UTC Tuesday) as the Moon started to pass directly in front of the Sun. As the eclipse reached totality, the Moon blocked all direct sunlight, turning day into night.

The eclipse was total in much of Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, and the Central Pacific, while parts of Australia and Asia experienced a partial one.

The total eclipse began at 00:15 UTC, with the moment of maximum shadow at 01:59 UTC. The celestial event ends at sunset, local time, north of Hawaii (04:34 UTC).

Muslims along a 150km-wide strip running through Sumatra, Borneo and Sulawesi – the path of eclipse totality – experienced the eclipse for about four hours on Wednesday morning.

In Maba, Maluku Islands, there was darkness for about three minutes – the longest time in Indonesia. Other areas experienced blackout or darkness for about two minutes.

Skywatchers in southern China, southeast Asia, Australia, Hawaii and Alaska experienced a partial eclipse when the Moon’s penumbra – the outer region of the shadow – catches them.

Any Real Value?

Scientists at NASA said they planned to use the event to study solar physics.

From Indonesia, they will use an instrument called a polarization camera to capture 59 exposures of the Sun in just over three minutes, collecting data on the innermost parts of the sun’s volatile, superheated atmosphere.

This region can only be observed during total solar eclipses when the Sun’s bright face is completely blocked by the Moon.

The lower part of the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, is thought to hold the keys to several solar mysteries, including the birth of explosive clouds of solar material called coronal mass ejections and the mystery of why the corona is actually hotter than the surface.

“The Sun’s atmosphere is where the interesting physics is,” said Nelson Reginald, from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA.