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Total Solar Eclipse Wows Skywatchers Across Indonesia, Pacific Region

Watch Rare Total Solar Eclipse 0:53

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

The moon briefly blotted out the sun for observers in a 90-mile-wide 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 Space.com readers and live webcasts.

"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.

"I can now see [solar] 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."

Wow, a total solar #eclipse2016! See the moon pass directly in front of the sun. It happened at 8:38 to 8:42 pm ET. https://t.co/qK6O4xppbn

— NASA (@NASA) March 9, 2016

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

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."

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

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