Solar eclipse travelogue: On the eve of totality

Astronomy Senior Editor Richard Talcott shares his journey across Indonesia with Astronomy magazine readers ahead of the March 9 total solar eclipse.
By | Published: March 8, 2016 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Meteorologist Jay Anderson explains the weather patterns affecting tomorrow’s eclipse weather and the prospects for clear skies.
Evelyn Talcott
Today, March 8, was a day to prepare for tomorrow’s total solar eclipse. (The eclipse occurs the morning of March 9 local time). During our morning drive to the airport in Bali, we passed though a phalanx of ogoh-ogoh. These demonic effigies were to be paraded through the village streets tonight, the eve of the Balinese Hindu New Year, Nyepi, and then burned.

But by then, we were long gone. Astronomy magazine’s travel partner, TravelQuest, chartered a plane to take us to Sulawesi, where tomorrow we will see the Moon pass directly in front of the Sun. After an afternoon to unwind, eclipse meteorologist Jay Anderson and I gave talks describing what people can expect to see during tomorrow morning’s eclipse. Jay says the weather pattern remains favorable, and we probably have a better than 50-50 chance of seeing totality. We all went to bed with that thought in our heads, awaiting a 4 a.m. wakeup call designed to get us to our observing site in time for first contact.