Awestruck in Kalimantan

I remember standing in the school playground when I was 10 years old watching a solar eclipse with my classmates under the supervision of our teacher. The world didn’t go as dark as I had hoped but that’s because it was only a partial eclipse. Today, for the first time ever, I watched one in totality as the moon crossed directly between the Earth and the Sun in the clear blue sky of Balikpapan, in East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.


We had the perfect view from our 16th floor east-facing balcony, which looked out over the sea.



The eclipse began at 7.25am as the Moon took a tiny nibble out of one side of the sun, progressing over the next half hour to a bite-sized chunk, until it had gobbled away so much that only a crescent of the Sun’s light was still visible.


At just over one hour into the event, we were thrilled to witness the diamond ring effect, which occurred just seconds before the extraordinary one-and-a-quarter-minutes of totality. And yes, our world went quiet and eerily slipped into twilight, with a golden glow hovering over the horizon. The temperature dropped, the stars came back out, and we were spellbound.




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