KUALA LUMPUR: The last annular solar eclipse sighted in the country was 21 years ago and Malaysians had the opportunity to witness this unique and rare natural phenomenon again, particularly in Tanjung Piai, Johor and Serian, Sarawak.
The annular solar eclipse, last occurred on Aug 22,1998 in Mersing, Johor, attracted the public who took the opportunity to witness the celestial wonder.
In Tanjung Piai, the eclipse lasted from 1.21pm to 1.23pm while in Serian, from 1.46pm to 1.50pm yesterday. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon covers the centre of the sun, leaving a brilliant ring of light around the moon in what observers call a “ring of fire”.
The whole country is believed to have witnessed the event that occurred from around 11am until 4pm.
At the Tanjung Piai National Park, about 5,000 visitors witnessed the two-minute spectacle.
National Planetarium director Anita Bahari said about 120 telescopes were provided by various astronomical research associations and public universities for public use, as well as several units that were designated for study purposes.
In addition, about 6,000 special glasses for viewing the eclipse were distributed free to the public.
The phenomenon is expected to occur again in 2042.
Also catching the public’s attention was the presence of the country’s first astrophysicist, Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman, who held a special session on the annular solar eclipse before she joined the crowd to witness the occurrence.
Her presence undoubtedly caused some excitement as she was seen inundated with requests to pose for photographs by members of the public to record the historic event together.
In Serian, more than 1,000 residents and visitors caught the four-minute eclipse that started at 1.46pm at Piazza Square, about 60km from Kuching.
Most of them witnessed the spectacular sight using some of the 2,000 special glasses provided by the organiser, National Planetarium.
Astronomy buffs even turned up with personal telescopes.
In KUALA LUMPUR, people also witnessed the phenomenon at the National Planetarium, which had organised the Solarfest Malaysia 2019 since Tuesday.
National Planetarium science officer and coordinator for the programme Nurfazilah Mohamad Hanafiah said more than 1,000 people turned up at the planetarium grounds to witness the event yesterday. — Bernama
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