A total eclipse of the sun briefly plunged parts of Indonesia into darkness. The rare astronomical phenomenon was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across 12 Indonesian provinces, encompassing three time zones and about 40 million people. A partial eclipse was visible in other parts of the Indonesian archipelago, as well as a swathe of Asia and in northern Australia.
Thousands of eclipse-chasers flocked to Indonesia from around the world. Cloudy skies in parts of Indonesia dampened the spectacle for some. In Palembang, a Sumatran city of more than 1.4 million, thousands of residents gathered at its landmark Ampera bridge from well before dawn, but the total eclipse was only briefly visible, if at all. Indonesia last saw a total eclipse in 1983 and it will be 33 years until the next one, according to the meteorological agency.
In other parts of the world, the previous total solar eclipse was in March 2015 and was best viewed on Norway's Svalbard islands near the North Pole. The next total eclipse will occur in August 2017 and be visible over a slice of North America.
A solar eclipse happens when the moon casts a shadow on the earth as it passes between the earth and the sun. A partial eclipse, more frequent than total eclipses, is when the earth passes within the penumbra of the moon.