A total solar eclipse next week is boosting Indonesian tourism to such an extent it’s hard to get a room, tourism authorities there say.
Indonesia’s vice president, Jusuf Kalla, told the country’s national Antara News Agency that foreign tourists keen to witness the rare phenomenon had booked “almost all hotel rooms”.
“I am still trying to find an empty room,” Kalla added.
A total eclipse occurs when the dark silhouette of the Moon completely obscures the intensely bright light of the Sun, allowing only the much fainter solar corona to be seen. The effect is dramatic, darkness falls rapidly, birds stop singing and the atmosphere becomes quite eerie.
Next week’s total solar eclipse will last two to three minutes and will be visible across 12 of Indonesia’s provinces: Bengkulu, West Sumatra, South Sumatra, Jambi, Bangka Belitung, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, West Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, and Maluku.
“For a few minutes, parts of 12 provinces will experience up to 90% darkness, while in Java and other areas in Indonesia, a partial solar eclipse will occur with around 50 to 60% darkness,” head of the Indonesia National Aeronautics and Space Agency (Lapan), Thomas Jamaluddin, said.
While the total phase of the solar eclipse will not be not visible in Bali, it can be observed there as a partial solar eclipse. The Moon will cover a large portion of the Sun, so it will still be a spectacular sight – weather permitting.
The Indonesian government is holding a special tourism event for the total solar eclipse in Bangka Belitung Province on 9 March 2016, an official of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs told Antara.
Bangka Belitung was chosen as most of its waters lie in the “path of totality” – the 150km-wide area that will experience the total solar eclipse.
An event called Eclipse Festival 2016 is due to be held on Sulawesi, according to a Facebook page. The total eclipse will be fully visible on Sulawesi; with approximately 2 min 55 seconds of totality.
The festival is planned to run for five days 7-11 March 2016, with the eclipse occurring on the morning of 9 March.
This event will showcase “a special lineup of some of the best international and local musicians, DJs, artists and performers,” the site says.
Written by Peter Needham