Last Wednesday, I did a live blogging of the total solar eclipse visible from Turkey. Some of you later asked me if we can ever see a total solar eclipse here in Singapore and when will be the next one.
I remember talking to a fellow amateur astronomer here in Singapore sometime last year at a star party. He said to a bunch of people that we will never see a total solar eclipse here. He was wrong of course but you can understand why he would say that. You see, because for us in Singapore, total solar eclipses are super rare! Check this out. The last total solar eclipse visible in Singapore was on 4 March 1821! And the next one? Well, only if you can live long enough past October 7 2135!
Totality in Singapore is very rare but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy one in your neighbourhood. There are a couple of total solar eclipses visible in South East Asia. The one closest to us occured in Indonesia on March 18 1988. Before that on 11 June 1983, Indonesia was again treated to a total solar eclipse. Another close one to Singapore was on October 24 1995. That time, the total eclipse was visible from Thailand and parts of South East Asia.
The next total solar eclipse visible in South East Asia and nearby regions will be on March 9 2016. Again, Indonesia will be the best place to view it. There's an earlier one on July 22 2009 but it will only be visible in India and China. The other one worth mentioning is November 13 2012 visible on the northern tip of Australia. Alright now, go ahead and mark your calendars.
(Note: The blue path on the charts depict the path of the total solar eclipse while the red path is an annular solar eclipse which happens when the moon appears slightly smaller than the sun therefore it does not cover the sun completely, leaving a ring of the sun around it.)
(Charts copyright Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC)
Update: How to watch the August 1 2008 Total Solar Eclipse