Cloudy skies drive many to social media to watch partial solar eclipse


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PETALING JAYA: The partial solar eclipse on Sunday (June 21) was obscured by cloudy skies here, with many people viewing it “live” on social media instead.

The phenomenon occurred between 2.30pm and 5.30pm, starting from Pulau Langkawi in Kedah to Kuala Lumpur and to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.

The maximum coverage of the Sun in Kota Kinabalu was recorded at 32.9% at 4.23pm, while Kuala Lumpur recorded a maximum 10.4% coverage at 3:57pm.

A partial solar eclipse occurs when a part of the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, with the Sun looking as if a chunk of it has been bitten off.

While some parts of the country had good weather which allowed a full view of the eclipse, other parts of the country had to put up with cloudy weather, which occasionally obscured it.

The Planetarium Negara building was not open to the public on Sunday as Malaysia is under the recovery movement control order.

However, some people still went there and were able to view the eclipse on telescopes set up outdoors by its staff, with everyone wearing masks and practising social distancing.

“When it comes to Astronomy, there are some people who are die-hard fans. We did not prevent them from coming in as long as they adhered to the SOP, ” said Norulaswad Sulaiman, a science officer with the National Planetarium.

The National Planetarium also live-streamed the phenomenon on their Facebook and YouTube pages, with more than 1,700 viewers at its peak.

The live stream also featured feeds from several other countries like India, Pakistan, China, and Taiwan.

In December last year, Malaysia experienced an annular solar eclipse, when the Moon covered the centre of the Sun, leaving a brilliant ring of light around the moon in what observers call a “ring of fire”.

Norulaswad said the next partial solar eclipse in Malaysia is in April 2023.

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