JAKARTADAILY.ID – On April 20, 2023, a rare phenomenon known as a hybrid solar eclipse will occur, darkening the sky in most parts of Indonesia, especially in the eastern part of the country. The eclipse will cross several regions, starting from the Indian Ocean, then northern Australia, then shifting to Timor Leste, then to 11 regions in eastern Indonesia, and finally to the Pacific Ocean.
The hybrid solar eclipse is a unique type of solar eclipse that experiences two phases simultaneously, namely the ring phase and the total phase. Astronomy researchers from BRIN (National Research and Innovation Agency) have noted that this type of eclipse rarely occurs in the same region.
Speaking to BBC News Indonesia, Avivah Yamani, a member of the Langit Selatan astronomy community said "because of the curvature of the Earth, the moon's shadow does not reach the Earth, it hangs a bit so that it forms an extension of the shadow, we call it the antumbra or an extension of the umbra. So, it is the area inside the antumbra that sees the ring solar eclipse."
The eclipse will start from Kisar Island, Maluku, then cross to Maopora Island, Damar Island, Watubela Island, then to West Papua, and end on Biak Island, Papua. Other areas in Indonesia will experience a partial solar eclipse due to the penumbra or pseudo-shadow. They will only see part of the sun's surface that will be blocked by the moon.
Astronomy and astrophysics researcher at the BRIN Space Research Center, Andi Pangerang, explained that the further west Indonesia is, the less sun will be covered. In Jakarta, for example, it is estimated that eclipse coverage will be around 42%. In Medan, only 12.8%. There are also several areas in Indonesia that will not experience eclipses at all but only conjunctions or new moon phases. They are five districts/cities in Aceh namely Sabang, Banda Aceh, Pidie, Aceh Jaya, and Aceh Besar.
The peak of the eclipse is expected to occur around 13:30 to 14:30 Eastern Indonesia Time. Since the eclipse occurs during the day, the intensity of sunlight will decrease, and the sky will become dark like at night for about a minute.
Andi Pangerang told BBC News Indonesia that previously invisible celestial bodies will be visible during a total solar eclipse. "So during a total solar eclipse, we can see stars and planets that we cannot see during the day because usually the stars or planets are only witnessed after sunset until before sunrise."
BRIN researchers will take advantage of this rare moment to conduct research on the corona, or layers of the sun's atmosphere, during the eclipse.
"The corona is an important part of the sun's atmosphere that we still need to explore more deeply. This is because the corona plays a role in climate change on Earth. By studying the corona, we can also understand more about the sun's activity that can disrupt satellite communication," explained Yusuf Abdullah, the Head of the BRIN Space Research Center.