2019 Dec 26 Annular Solar Eclipse: ‘Ring of Fire’ in Borneo, Brunei merely misses it will still see partial eclipse

By Hazarry bin Haji Ali Ahmad

Bandar Seri Begawan – A perfect  alignment of the Earth-Moon-Sun bodies will occur on December 26, 2019, resulting in a spectacular annular solar eclipse visible in few cities of Saudi Arabia, India, Sri Lanka, Sumatra, Borneo and the Pacific Ocean .

Distinct parts of a Moon’s shadow on the Earth – Antumbra and Penumbra. A bright ring is visible around the eclipsing bodies from area of Antumbra. An annular solar eclipse happens when the Moon covers the Sun’s center, leaving the Sun’s visible outer edges to form a “ring of fire” or annulus around the Moon. (Photo Source: timeanddate.com)

As seen from a location on Earth, a solar eclipse happens when the moon moves in front of the Sun thus block the Solar disk. It is a mere miss, as people in Brunei will only see a partial eclipse with 85.8% obscuration of the Sun by the Moon. A simulation of the partial Solar Eclipse as seen from Brunei during mid-day is shown in the video below.

Since we will only witness the partial obscuration of the sun by the moon, features that are normally visible during annular eclipse such as ring of fire and darkening of the sky/surrounding will not be observable from Brunei.

Simulation of the partial solar eclipse from Bandar Seri Begawan on Dec 26, 2019

Count down to Partial Solar Eclipse in Brunei

Worldwide Visibilty

Annular Eclipse of Dec 26, 2019 simulation as seen from space, notice the central shadow of the moon casted on the Earth as the moon orbiting the Earth. This Moon’s shadow path is where the annular eclipse will be visible.

The annular eclipse will be visible in a very narrow 9000 km path (blue line of about 158 km width) across the globe crossing Saudi Arabia, India, Sri Lanka, Sumatra and Borneo. From this area, the annular eclipse can be visible for up to 3 minutes and 39 second at the greatest path. These are the cities which will experience the annular eclipse:

Hofuf, Saudi Arabia
Mangaluru, Karnataka, India
Kasaragod, Kerala, India
Thalassery, Kerala, India
Kozhikode, Kerala, India
Ootacamund, Tamil Nadu, India
Palakkad, Kerala, India
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India
Erode, Tamil Nadu, India
Karur, Tamil Nadu, India
Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, India
Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu, India
Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India
Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu, India
Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
Singapore, Singapore
Batam, Riau Islands, Indonesia
Tanjung Pinang, Riau Islands, Indonesia
Hagåtña, Guam

Use this Interactive World Map of the Annular Sun Eclipse of December 26, 2019 by time.unitarium.com to find out the start time of the eclipse: http://time.unitarium.com/events/eclipse/122019/map.html

While for most areas (yellow shade) outside the central path will only get to see partial eclipse of the sun, with different degree of the moon covering the Sun or magnitude depending on your location. For Brunei, the magnitude is 85.8%.

This map shows the path of the Annular Solar Eclipse of 2019 Dec 26 for ASEAN region. The path limits are in yellow and the central line is blue, a merely misses for Brunei – you must be somewhere within the central path to see the annular phase of the eclipse such as from Bau, Kota Samarahan, Serian, Sri Aman and Betong in Sarawak. The red lines indicate the different magnitude or fraction of the Sun’s diameter occulted by the Moon during the eclipse, for ASEAN region.

For most areas in Borneo, the annular solar eclipse path will cross close to the country’s border of Sarawak and Kalimantan which majorly may not be accessible / inhabitable, making cities around Sarawak as spots for Ring of Fire eclipse observation around the island.
Cities in Sarawak such as Kota Samarahan, Serian and Sri Aman as well as areas inside the red shade will see an annular eclipse, featuring “Ring of Fire”

Annular eclipse timings and duration for Borneo

Location in BorneoStart of eclipseStart of annularityGreatestEnd of annularityEnd of eclipseDuration
Singkawang, Kalimantan11:43:4413:41:0413:42:5313:44:4115:31:2600:03:37
Sambas, Kalimantan11:44:3813:43:0813:43:5613:44:4415:32:1000:01:36
Bau, Sarawak11:47:3513:46:0113:46:5913:47:5615:34:0300:01:55
Siburan, Sarawak11:48:3013:46:3413:47:5213:49:1015:34:3500:02:36
Kota Samarahan, Sarawak11:48:4513:47:1513:48:0913:49:0315:34:4600:01:48
Serian, Sarawak11:49:0813:46:4413:48:2713:50:1115:34:5500:03:27
Simunjan, Sarawak11:49:3313:47:1413:48:5313:50:3215:35:1100:03:18
Sri Aman, Sarawak11:52:1813:49:4613:51:3213:53:1815:36:4600:03:32
Betong, Sarawak11:52:3013:50:1513:51:4713:53:1915:36:5600:03:04

Notice from the table above that the duration of annularity will be longer as the location gets very close to the line annular eclipse path.

What to expect during Annular Eclipse of the sun

Caution: During an annular eclipse of the sun, a ‘ring of fire’ remains and the Sun still emits direct light.  Even though the sunlight is greatly reduced, it is still not possible to safely view with the naked eyes.  Solar filters must be used throughout.  As a result, key features of the Total Solar Eclipse such as the corona, prominences and seeing stars/planets are missing but ones will still experience the gradual dimming of light, fauna reactions, the approaching darkness (moon’s shadow) on the horizon and seeing the Ring.

Eclipse timing for Brunei Darussalam

The partial eclipse which will start at exactly 12:04 pm, will last for about three hours and 39 minutes in Brunei. The maximum phase of the eclipse will occur at 2:02:58 pm with the moon covering 85.8 per cent of the sun’s disc. The partial eclipse will end when the moon leaves the sun’s edge at 3.43 pm. Diagrams of the eclipse sequence or phases from Brunei in Local Time are as follow:

Start of eclipse at 12:04
Greatest eclipse at 14:02:58
End of eclipse at 15:43

From Bandar Seri Begawan, the percentage of the Sun’s disk covered by the Moon will proceed as follows:

Time% Sun’s disk covered
by the Moon
Sun AltitudeSun Azimuth
14:0285.8% (Max)52220

Viewing the sun eclipse safely

Watching a solar eclipse will be a breath taking experience especially because of it’s rarity, mystery and religious beliefs. However, it comes with a warning! Our sun emits dangerous radiations. Never look directly at the Sun without proper solar filter even when if the Sun is almost completely blocked during the solar eclipse.

Solar UV radiation can burn the retinas at the back of your eyes, and cause permanent damage or even blindness. Avoid using improper solar filters such CD, plastic bag, sunglasses, exposed x-ray film etc. to view the sun as harmful radiation can still pass through these objects.  You can purchase a solar eclipse glass. Another safe method of viewing the sun is to use a projection of the sun using small pin-hole camera or binocular or a small telescope.

Upcoming activities and observation for this eclipse will be updated on this page soon.

Eclipse Climatogy

Graph of satellite-based cloud amount along the central axis of the eclipse based on observations from 2002 to 2016. The red line shows cloudiness derived from 10:30 am satellite passage; the blue line is extracted from 1:30 pm passes. Locations of places along (but not necessarily on) the central line are shown on the graphs. Source: NASA.

According to eclipsophile.com, for the South East Asian countries, the increasing southeasterly track of the Moon’s shadow takes it deep into equatorial moisture and the extensive cloudiness.  The centreline trace of monthly cloudiness in figure above shows values of over 75% in Sri Lanka, a value that increases a further 10% by the peninsula of North Sumatera (Sumatra).  At Singapore, where totality occurs at noon, satellite measurements of cloud cover reach 95%, a value that seems far too high in view of the approximately 33 percent of possible sunshine at most stations shown in table below.

However, the surface-based cloud observations are in close agreement, with no observations at all of clear skies and a 93-100% frequency of broken and overcast skies at most of the stations. This is a very cloudy region of the globe, especially in the afternoon.

Surface observations of weather elements at selected locations over SE Asia along the eclipse track . Cloud-cover observations are taken at the time of the eclipse. The average cloud amount is calculated from the individual observations of cloud frequency categories. (Source: http://eclipsophile.com/annular-solar-eclipses/ase2019/)

“Ring of Fire” eclipse expedition from BSB, Brunei

Bruneian eclipse chasers who are interested to join our expedition to watch the spectacular Ring of Fire from Brunei (due risks of cloudy weather and at your own expenses) to a nearby location (currently in plan) in Borneo can join our WhatsApp discussion via www.bruneiastronomy.org/expedition
This is a must for eclipse chasers as the next annular solar eclipse from Borneo will not happen until 21 May 2031!

Future Eclipses from Brunei Darussalam

The next eclipses visible from Brunei Darussalam:
1. Partial Solar (28.2%) on Sunday, 21 June 2020
2. Total Lunar on Wednesday, 26 May 2021 and Partial Lunar on Friday, 19 November 2021

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.