The countdown to the rare astronomical event has already begun!
A full solar eclipse will take place next Wednesday (9th March 2016), where you’ll get to experience dark shadows cast by the moon as it passes precisely between the Sun and Earth. Unfortunately for those of us living in Malaysia, we can only witness a partial eclipse at sunrise, as only parts of Southeast Asia will get the privilege of viewing the full solar eclipse.
“Though only people along the narrow path of totality will see the total eclipse, millions more will see some degree of a partial solar eclipse in Asia and the Pacific, including Hawaii, Guam and parts of Alaska. A partial eclipse will also be visible along the path of totality for over an hour before and after the total eclipse,” NASA said in a statement.
The solar eclipse will approximately begin at 7:20 am and end around 9:30 am, depending on which part of Malaysia you’re currently residing at. During the point of maximum eclipse, almost 90% of the sun will be obscured by the moon.
Here are the time slots as provided by Malaysian Digest on when the maximum partial solar eclipse is expected to occur:
- Kuala Lumpur: 8:23 am
- George Town: 8:24 am
- Kuching: 8:29 am
- Kota Kinabalu: 8:40 am
NASA has also issued a word of caution against looking directly into the eclipse without proper eye protection. You don’t want to experienced unnecessary eye injury, including blindness, within a few seconds. According to the Science Centre Singapore, the repercussion of eye injury may only be noticed after a few hours, as the retina of the eye has no pain receptors.
Some of the precautionary steps you can take include using a solar-filtered telescope, eclipse glasses, or a pinhole projector. Photographers and videographers are advised to use solar glasses or filters. “These filters block out not only most of the visible light, but also ultraviolet and infrared light that can be harmful to your eyes,” said Dr Abel Yang.
Even though we won’t get to view the solar eclipse in totality, next week’s occurrence is still going to be a spectacular sight.