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Total Eclipse across Asian and the Pacific.

Sweden, March 9 -- Indonesians in the main island of Sumatra witnessed what the locals call, once-in-life time celestial event today, a total solar eclipse.

At 23.19 GMT - 06.19 local time - the Moon started moving directly between the Sun and the Earth while shadowing the former. It is the first significant celestial event of the year and in this context, the enthusiasm among both astronomers and Indonesians is understandable.

Those who happen to be under the direct path of the totality, a strip as wide as 150km, may lose around 4 hours of daylight during the eclipse today.

Meanwhile, people in some parts of the Pacific, Australia, for instance, and in Asia will witness a partial eclipse.

As usual, the astronomers are warning the space enthusiasts against looking directly at the Sun during and after the eclipse, as sudden exposure may result in harming the retina. They recommend eclipse viewing glasses that keep the harmful rays at bay for the viewers.

The eclipse will set at 4.34 GMT in Hawaii, according to astronomers, who keep track of it from the onset.

Scientists are planning to extend their studies about the Sun further at an accelerated pace during the eclipse. They hope such a study will be helpful to understand the corona of the Sun.

It is interesting to note that a crucial element of Einstein's Theory of Relativity was verified during a solar eclipse, which turned the physics into instant stardom.

During a solar eclipse in 1919, a team of astronomers led by Sir Arthur Eddington, found out that a light from a distant star did bend while passing the Sun, exactly in line with the prediction made by Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity.

This was a time, when even in the Western world the superstition was rife about celestial events like eclipses. As far as the Theory of Relativity was concerned, it was a blessing in disguise - the perfect opportunity to observe the light from a distant star in the absence of the light of our own star, the Sun.

In this context, scientists hope a total eclipse brings in a catalogue of opportunities to unravel mysteries hidden behind our own star and its celestial influence in guarantying our existence on this planet.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Asian Tribune.

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Publication:Asian Tribune (India)
Date:Mar 9, 2016
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