Sun

Total solar eclipse wows skywatchers across Indonesia, Pacific region

  • Total Solar Eclipse 2016: Totality

    Total Solar Eclipse 2016: Totality  (NASA TV)

  • The "diamond ring" effect is seen in this view of the March 8, 2016 total solar eclipse, which was captured by the Slooh Community Observatory.

    The "diamond ring" effect is seen in this view of the March 8, 2016 total solar eclipse, which was captured by the Slooh Community Observatory.  (Slooh Community Observatory)

  • Great prominences on the sun are visible in this fiery telescope view of the total solar eclipse of March 8/9, 2016 as seen in a NASA webcast from Woleai Island in Micronesia arranged in partnership with the E

    Great prominences on the sun are visible in this fiery telescope view of the total solar eclipse of March 8/9, 2016 as seen in a NASA webcast from Woleai Island in Micronesia arranged in partnership with the E  (NASA TV)

The skies went dark over parts of Indonesia and the Pacific Ocean region Tuesday evening (March 8) as the only total solar eclipse of 2016 took hold.

The moon briefly blotted out the sun for observers in a 90-mile-wide strip of land and sea — the "path of totality" — that stretched east across Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi and other islands, all the way to an empty patch of the Pacific northeast of Hawaii. You can see photos of the total solar eclipse of 2016 here from Space.com readers and live webcasts.

"We've got totality here!" Paul Cox said Tuesday evening from Sulawesi, where he had traveled to host a live eclipse webcast for the Slooh Community Observatory. [Video: NASA Explains the Total Solar Eclipse of 2016]

"I can now see [solar] prominences — they are beautiful. Wow!" Cox added. His excitement then ratcheted up even more as he witnessed the "diamond ring effect," in which the sun-moon pair resembles a piece of gigantic sky bling. "That is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." 

Indeed, the next solar eclipse — which will be visible from parts of Africa on Sept. 1 — will be the annular type.

North American skywatchers may feel left out by Tuesday's event and the upcoming African eclipse, but their time is coming. On Aug. 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible from a swath of the north-central United States stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. And most of North America will be able to catch a partial version of this "Great American Eclipse."

Editor's note: If you safely captured an amazing photo of today's total solar eclipse and would like to share it with us and our news partners for a story or gallery, send images and comments in to Managing Editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.