March’s Total Solar Eclipse in Indonesia

The first eclipse of the year involves a completely coverup of the Sun. The track crosses Southeast Asia but makes little landfall.

On March 9th, the Moon will glide across the Sun's disk and create a total solar eclipse. As with the similar event about this time last year, the path of totality crosses a portion of Earth that's difficult to reach. It begins in the Indian Ocean and ends in the Pacific well to the northeast of Hawai'i. The Moon's shadow makes landfall only on parts of Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi, and tiny bits of Micronesia.

Many eclipse-chasers are making the long journey anyway. In addition to a congregation in Ternate, at least six cruise ships and two aircraft will moving into position. Another group is setting up on Woleai Atoll in Micronesia, which is closest to the location where the eclipse will be greatest (predicted to be 4 minutes 9 seconds long at 1:57 Universal Time).

In the map below, interpolate between the red lines in the figure below to to find the Universal Time of the greatest eclipse. Interpolate between the blue lines to see what percent of the Sun's diameter the Moon will cover at that time.

Indonesia's Total Solar Eclipse

Indonesian Solar Eclipse Map. Interpolate between the red lines to fin the Universal Time of greatest eclipse for any given location. Interpolate between the blue lines to see what percent of the Sun's diameter the Moon will cover at that time.
S&T diagram; source: Fred Espenak

Indonesia's day-to-day weather is heavily influenced by the Inter-Tropical Convergence zone, and those hoping for clear skies are at the mercy of a humid, unstable atmosphere with frequent clouds and heavy rain. Weather prospects improve along the track to the northeast, but meteorologist Jay Anderson predicts that nowhere is the chance of clear skies any better than about 50%.

Meanwhile, the eclipse will be partial for a much wider area, including Southeast Asia, China, Japan, and parts of Australia. Those in Manila, the Philippines, get to see 47% of the Sun's disk covered. In Honolulu, it's 63% — but because of the International Date Line, Hawai'ians see the event on the afternoon of March 8th (maximum eclipse at 5:37 p.m. HST).

For more maps and further details, see EclipseWise.com.

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