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Wednesday, 09 March 2016 - 11:14
Total Eclipse: Indonesia Witnesses Totality As Sun Is Blocked By The Moon
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Millions of people across Indonesia and the Pacific have experienced a total solar eclipse, with parts of the region falling into complete darkness.

The eclipse began at 06:19 local time (23:19 GMT Tuesday) as the Moon started to pass directly in front of the Sun.

As the eclipse reached totality, the Moon blocked all direct sunlight, turning day into night.

In Indonesia's Belitung province, a crowd gathered on a beach and witnesses spoke of a "magical" experience.

The eclipse was total in Indonesia and the Central Pacific, while parts of Australia and Asia experienced a partial one.

Astronomers reiterated advice not to look directly at the Sun with the naked eye, or through a telescope. Experts recommended using either a professional solar filter in front of a telescope or camera, or special eclipse-viewing glasses.

The total eclipse began at 00:15 GMT, with the moment of maximum shadow at 01:59 GMT. The celestial event will end at sunset, local time, and north of Hawaii (04:34 GMT).

Belitung, Indonesia, was one of the best places to view the total solar eclipse.

From before dawn, about 200 people gathered at Olivier beach to watch. About 30 foreigners were in the crowd, travelling from Australia and Europe to see it.

Across the island other people prayed in mosques, churches and temples, foreign media reports.

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