Enthusiasts clear-ly well treated to partial solar eclipse

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 10 Mar 2016

KUCHING: Excitement filled the air as astronomy enthusiasts gathered at the Sultan Iskandar Planetarium to observe the partial solar eclipse.

Management executive Alcila Abby, 24, took half the day off to witness the celestial phenomenon.

She also ordered a pair of solar eclipse glasses online for the event.

“I’ve always been interested in astronomy. When I found out that a partial solar eclipse would occur on March 9, I marked my calendar right away.

“I was very excited when I woke up at 5.45am. This is the first time I’ve observed an eclipse and it was really astonishing,” she said.

About 50 people were present at the planetarium grounds to observe the partial eclipse, which began at 7.24am here. It reached maximum coverage at 8.29am when the moon covered 87% of the sun.

Despite some rain and cloudy skies earlier, the weather cleared sufficiently for observers to get a good glimpse of the phenomenon.

Sarawak Astronomy Society committee member Rambli Ahmad said this was the best eclipse he had observed.

He said it was previously pouring with rain when he wanted to see an eclipse in Bintulu in the 1990s.

“Today (yesterday) was very good. The sky has been friendly, it was in the morning and we were in the shade, so conditions were perfect. About 15 minutes before and after the maximum coverage we had a wonderful show of the sun,” he said.

Rambli said although it was not a total eclipse, there was a slight dimming of sunlight during the maximum coverage.

“With 87% of the sun blocked by the moon, you could feel it (surrounding) cool down a little bit,” he said, adding that it was important to observe the eclipse using safe equipment such as solar glasses.

In Kota Kinabalu, a family of amateur astronomers waited since 6am to view the rare phenomenon.

Loke Ting Yen and his wife Ally Ang and their son Oscar waited at the seaside of Tanjung Dumpil in Putatan, along with 100 people to view the solar eclipse.

They came well prepared with two homemade monoscopes projectors that Oscar and his father made from discarded carton boxes.

Monoscopes are used to view the solar eclipse safely.

For Oscar, a Year Three pupil at Chung Hwa Primary here, viewing the partial solar eclipse had further strengthened his resolve to pursue his ambition of becoming an astronaut.

In Langkawi, students from SK Sungai Menghulu observed the gravitational impact on chicken eggs during the solar eclipse.

In Johor Baru, hundreds of people watched the eclipse at the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s (UTM) helipad.

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