The first solar eclipse of 2016 has delighted crowds across Asia and Australasia. People ran out onto the streets to see the spectacle, using eclipse glasses, or anything else they could find which might protect their eyes. A solar eclipse happens when the moon moves between the Earth and the Sun. It can only happen when there is a full moon, when the moon passes directly between the Sun and the Earth.
The fact that we can see a total eclipse is a strange coincidence of astronomy. The Sun’s diameter is 400 times that of our tiny moon, but the moon just happens to be 400 times closer to Earth than the Sun. This is the only total solar eclipse which will take place this year. It was first visible from Sumatra in Indonesia, before spreading east, across Borneo, Sulawesi and Halmahera. A partial eclipse was visible across a far greater area, including parts of Australia, much of eastern Asia and Hawaii.