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How To Experience March 9’s Solar Eclipse

Did you catch the blood moon, the shortest lunar eclipse of the century and more?

by Samantha Francis


Credit: Justin Ng 

Come Mar 9, the world will be shrouded in darkness …

We’re just kidding.

What you can expect is a rare astronomical event called a partial eclipse, with nearly 90 per cent of the sun obscured by the moon at the point of maximum eclipse. According to Dr Abel Yang, a Lecturer from the Department of Physics at the National University of Singapore, this will result in the sky looking similar to evening brightness.

Be prepared to set your alarms early as the partial eclipse will begin at around 7.22am, 10 minutes after sunrise. The maximum eclipse will occur around 8.23am, with the eclipse ending at 9.33am.

If you’re hoping to catch a good glimpse of it, make your way to the Fibonacci Terrace at Science Centre Singapore from 7:30am to 10am on Mar 9. On the day itself, the centre will be handing out solar glasses and setting up venuscopes for members of the public to view the solar eclipse safely.

To enjoy the eclipse from the comfort of home, your best bet is via this site where the phenomenon will be live screened from Micronesia or through this embedded video.

Apart from the upcoming partial eclipse, here are a few other rare astronomical events that Singaporeans have experienced in the past.

1. 5 planets visible at once from Singapore


Credit: Science Centre Observatory Facebook

Between 20 Jan to end Feb 2016, Singaporeans have been able to experience a rare astronomical alignment of 5 planets. For the first time in a decade, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus and Mercury appeared together in the skies. According to Science Centre Singapore, the Moon also came into alignment with the five planets on Jan 27.

2. Blood moon


Credit: Science Centre Observatory Facebook

On 28 Sept 2015, a rare supermoon eclipse occurred in combination with a total lunar eclipse, resulting in a blood moon. The blood moon occurs when the Earth passes between the Sun and the moon, as opposed to a solar eclipse when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun. The astronomical event, while not as visible in Singapore since it occurred during the day at 10:11am, ignited much interest here. Members of the public were able to view the blood moon through the telescope at the Science Centre Singapore.

3. Shortest lunar eclipse of the century


Credit: Sammil Kafoor

A total lunar eclipse happened on 4 Apr 2015, except most of us probably didn’t realised it did, due to the evening rain. Starting at about 5pm local time, the eclipse peaked at 8pm and lasted a total of 5 minutes, making it the shortest lunar eclipse of the century.

4. Longest solar eclipse this century


Credit: Denise Kramer

Lucky for us, Singaporeans also experienced a glimpse of the longest solar eclipse of the century on 22 July 2009. Solar eclipses happen when the Moon passes in front of the Sun. During the eclipse, day turned to night for about six minutes, with the phenomenon partially visible here from 8.41am to 9.44am.

by Samantha Francis