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Science

Solar eclipse will go back in time to darken parts of Southeast Asia and the Pacific

The sun will soon go dark in parts of SE Asia and the Pacific during a total solar eclipse on March 9 and then 8. Yes, that's written correctly.

The solar eclipse will begin at 2319 UTC (just after midnight in Germany), with the maximum eclipse, or point of best alignment, occurring at exactly 0159 UTC.

Our moon will block the sun's light across just a specific swath of our planet - in this case, SE Asia and the Pacific, including (very nearly) Hawaii - giving locals in those areas a full four minutes of afternoon darkness with the associated sudden drops in temperature.

The best place to view the eclipse is in Indonesia - specifically Sumatra, Borneo and Sulawesi. Just south, the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, will enjoy a strong partial eclipse, but it might be affected by what are moderate levels of smog.

A partial eclipse will also be visible to in other parts of Asia and northern Australia on Wednesday, March 9.

As the black point of darkness travels eastward and across Earth's International Date Line, however, the date will revert to March 8. So Hawaiians will enjoy a partial eclipse on their Tuesday.

If you're missing out on this one, your options remain open.

On May 9, the planet Mercury will repeat the moon's performance… but since it's at a far greater distance than our moon, it'll appear as a tiny black speck as it transits between us and the sun.

The full Mercury transit will be visible in nearly all of South America, in eastern North America and in western parts of Europe.

For those who need the full solar eclipse experience, there's plenty of time to plan for the next ones:

September 1: Central Africa, Indian Ocean, (partial in western Australia)

February 26, 2017: Much of South America, the south Atlantic, south-western Africa

August 21, 2017: Hawaii, North America, Atlantic, western Africa.

Expect that last one to be a US media sensation, as it'll be the first in nearly forty years that spans the continental US.

Check out our

2016 space calendar

for more.

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