Indonesia and other nations in the Pacific Ocean—though mostly the ocean itself—will be treated to a full solar eclipse on March 8–9, though the show will entirely miss Turtle Island.
However, a few parts of the U.S. will see at least a partial eclipse, which coincides with the first of the year’s six supermoons—though this one will be a new moon, meaning it will only make itself known by passing directly between Mother Earth and the sun.
“The path of totality starts at sunrise in the Indian Ocean to the west of Indonesia, and then goes eastward across the Indian and Pacific Oceans until it ends to the west of North America at sunset,” says Earthsky.org. “The best spots to watch this total solar eclipse from land are the various islands in Indonesia, which reside on the path of totality.”
As with a previous eclipse over Australia in 2012, Earthsky.org’s Bruce McClure is highlighting the link between an 1142 total eclipse and the formation of the Iroquois Confederacy.
The eclipse this year will fall mostly over the Pacific Ocean, according to Timeanddate.com.
“The total solar eclipse will be visible from parts of Indonesia including Sumatra, Borneo, and Sulawesi, and from locations in the Pacific Ocean,” says Timeanddate.com. “Observers in northern and eastern Australia, in South Asia, and in East Asia will be able to see a partial eclipse.”
The path of totality ranges from 62 to 93 miles wide, according to Phys.org, and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center says it’s 8,800 miles long. Outside that strip, in which the sun will be completely obscured, are Hawaii and Alaska in the U.S., and parts of Asia.
“A much larger swath of the world gets to see varying degrees of a partial solar eclipse,” says Earthsky.org. “Hawaii and Alaska see the partial eclipse at late afternoon on March 8, while south and eastern Asia, Korea, Japan, north and western Australia see it on the morning of March 9.”
This video from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center illustrates, in motion, where the eclipse’s various shadows will fall, and gives a primer.
Those in Hawaii and Alaska who might want to see the sun partly obscured by the moon must take precautions with their eyes.
Those who will not be able to witness any of the spectacle in person need not despair. As is its wont, the Slooh Community Observatory will broadcast the show live from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., according to Space.com, which also will host an online viewing.
Almost as compelling as watching an eclipse is what these astronomical phenomenon can tell us about human happenings such as eclipses and the dawn of democracy on Turtle Island.
“Eclipses are a great way to document history,” Earthsky.org’s Bruce McClure writes. “But the real item of importance, as far as I’m concerned, is the acceptance of the Peacemaker and the democratic ideals of the Iroquois Confederacy.”