The so-called annular eclipse, in which a thin outer ring of the sun is still visible, could be seen along a path stretching from India and Pakistan to Thailand and Indonesia.
“This will be the first of only two annular eclipses visible from Singapore for the rest of the century. So in that sense, it’s a very rare event for us,” said Albert Ho, president of the Astronomical Society of Singapore. The island’s next will be in 2063.
Authorities in Indonesia provided telescopes and hundreds of special glasses to protect viewers’ eyes.
Thousands of people gazed at the sky and cheered and clapped as the sun transformed into a dark orb for more than two minutes, briefly plunging the sky into darkness.
“How amazing to see the ring of fire when the sun disappeared slowly,” said Firman Syahrizal, a resident of Sinabang in Indonesia’s Banda Aceh province who witnessed the eclipse with his family.
The previous annular solar eclipse in February 2017 was also visible over a slice of Indonesia.
In most years, two solar eclipses are visible from somewhere on Earth. The maximum number is five.
Egg-Standing Test Goes Viral
Can you make an egg stand on its narrow side during a solar eclipse?
According to a popular scientific theory, an egg will support itself that way when the moon obscures the sun and during the spring equinox, due to increased gravity.
While the theory has been debunked, that did not stop Malaysian and Indonesian social media users from putting it to the test on Thursday, as thousands of skywatchers gathered across parts of Asia to witness a rare annular solar eclipse.
Videos shared online showed dozens of users succeeding in getting eggs to balance on different surfaces including on gravel, a windowpane, and a plate during the ‘ring-of-fire’ eclipse.
Hakeem Maarof, a Malaysian father of two, filmed eggs standing on end on a stone pavement and on the road after remembering being told about the theory by a friend.
“It’s more of an experiment for my kids,” Hakeem, who posted the footage of Facebook, told Reuters.
Dr. Chong Hon Yew, a retired physicist from the Malaysian Science University, said there was no evidence to back up the theory.
“You can do the same experiment tomorrow, before or after eclipse—it’s easy to do it,” Chong said. “But it’s a fun trick to do (during an eclipse) to get young kids interested in science and astronomy.”
Reuters contributed to this report.