The skies went dark over parts of Indonesia and the Pacific Ocean region Tuesday evening (March 8) as the only total solar eclipse of 2016 took hold.

The moon briefly blotted out the sun for observers in a 90-mile-wide (145 kilometers) strip of land and sea — the “path of totality” — that stretched east across Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi and other islands, all the way to an empty patch of the Pacific northeast of Hawaii. You can see photos of the total solar eclipse of 2016 here from readers and live webcasts.

Simmering Solar Views from SDO

“We’ve got totality here!” Paul Cox said Tuesday evening from Sulawesi, where he had traveled to host a live eclipse webcast for the Slooh Community Observatory. [Video: NASA Explains the Total Solar Eclipse of 2016]

“I can now see prominences — they are beautiful. Wow!” Cox added. His excitement then ratcheted up even more as he witnessed the “diamond ring effect,” in which the sun-moon pair resembles a piece of gigantic sky bling. “That is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”

Indeed, the next solar eclipse — which will be visible from parts of Africa on Sept. 1 — will be the annular type.

Weird and Wonderful SOHO Observations

North American skywatchers may feel left out by Tuesday’s event and the upcoming African eclipse, but their time is coming. On Aug. 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible from a swath of the north-central United States stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. And most of North America will be able to catch a partial version of this “Great American Eclipse.”

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