Partial solar eclipse on March 9

National 2 minutes, 2 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BRUNEI will experience a partial solar eclipse on March 9.

According to the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam, the solar eclipse will be visible in Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi and locations in the Pacific Ocean.

While the total phase of the solar eclipse will not be visible in Brunei, it can still be observed as a partial solar eclipse for those in the sultanate.

Partial solar eclipses occur when the moon comes between the sun and the earth, but do not align in a perfectly straight line. Because of this, the moon only covers part of the sun’s disc.

The eclipse, which will start at 7.30am, will last for about two hours and 24 minutes in Brunei.

The maximum phase of the eclipse will occur at 8.37am with the moon covering 76.5 per cent of the sun’s disc.

The partial eclipse will end when the moon leaves the sun’s edge at 9.54am.

The Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam posted a warning on its Facebook page that looking directly at the sun can lead to burns at the back of the eye and permanent blindness.

Indirect viewing of the sun is recommended. This can be done by using a pinhole projection method, a solar filter or solar glasses.

Hj Khairul Abidin, head technician at the Survey Department, said the department is currently in talks to organise a public viewing of the phenomenon at the Berakas Secondary School football field.

Another rare astronomical phenomenon, one which will happen for the first time in a decade, will also be visible in the country.

Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter will be visible from Earth, appearing in a diagonal row before dawn or around the time after the call of the dawn prayer.

According to the Huffington Post, the phenomenon started on January 20 and will continue to occur every early morning until February 20.

The last time it occured was between December 15, 2004 and January 15, 2005.

Hj Khairul said the phenomenon can be seen from the city and residential areas with the naked eye, given that the sky is not cloudy. To view it, he said, look towards the eastern horizon that is free from obstructions to locate Mercury.

The other planets will be easily visible because they are in the sky.

He said the Astronomy Department will be conducting an observation and has welcomed the public to join them at the Old Airport area parking lot at 5am on February 7.

The Brunei Times