REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, SIGI -- Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla has expressed hope that some scientific discoveries would be made following the total solar eclipse (TSE) that was visible in 12 of the country's 34 provinces on Wednesday morning.
"For the younger generation, a natural phenomenon of this kind is routine and could produce new theories," Kalla stated after watching the TSE along with the local people in Kotapulu, Sigi District, Central Sulawesi.
TSE is a rare and extraordinary natural phenomenon, he remarked.
"I am grateful that this place is suitable and not cloudy. Scientists have come here," Kalla, who was accompanied by Communication and Informatics Ministers Rudy Antara and Head of the National Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Andi Eka Sakya, noted.
Kalla said he was highly impressed after witnessing the TSE, which lasted for two minutes and two seconds, starting at 8:37 a.m. Central Indonesian Standard Time (Wita).
"For me, it is very beautiful. How the Sun, which is located some 150 million kilometers (km) from the Earth, and the Moon, 40 million km, could be visible on the right side. This is a sign of the greatness of Allah," Kalla affirmed.
He recalled that in 1983, a similar phenomenon had also occurred, but the authorities had banned the people from watching it as they said it could cause blindness.
Several foreign researchers and scientists were also present in Sigi, which is believed to be one of the best viewing spots for the TSE.
On the occasion, Kalla greeted Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers who was also on the field. Kuipers from the European Space Agency (ESA) had landed on the Moon in 2004 and 2012.
The vice president also joined thousands of local inhabitants in offering special prayers for the TSE.
Millions of Indonesians enthusiastically observed the solar eclipse totally or partly on Wednesday morning.
Several of them also thronged mosques to performed special eclipse prayers to praise Allah SWT for the spectacular phenomenon.
The shadow of the TSE fell over 12 of Indonesia's 34 provinces, stretching some five thousand km from east to west, before heading across the Pacific Ocean.
The TSE was visible for between one and a half to three minutes in most places, while the entire process of the eclipse lasted for more than two hours.
A TSE occurs when the Moon comes between the Sun and Earth and casts the darkest part of its shadow (the umbra) on Earth. During a total eclipse of the Sun, a Supermoon, which is a full Moon or a new Moon at its closest point to Earth, covers the entire disk of the Sun.