Beautiful Science

PHOTOS: COURTESY OF MADAM JANET TAY AND MR KOH JOO BENG
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF MADAM JANET TAY AND MR KOH JOO BENG

A total solar eclipse passed over parts of the southern Pacific Ocean, Chile and Argentina on Tuesday, but could not be seen in Singapore and this side of the globe. This, however, did not stop a Singaporean couple from being among the thousands who caught the natural phenomenon.

Madam Janet Tay and Mr Koh Joo Beng travelled to Chile's Atacama Desert to experience the few minutes of darkness during a total solar eclipse.

They are no strangers to making long journeys to catch eclipses. From Kenya to Indonesia to the United States, they have chased eclipses near and far - and the latest one is their 11th solar eclipse. The husband and wife are always on the lookout for the next eclipse.

Mr Koh, who is retired but previously worked as a research and development director, said: "Chasing eclipses is addictive. Every eclipse is different because of the landscape, sky conditions, country and people."

The 58-year-old said of the latest one: "The eclipse happened when the sun was setting in the mountains. Total darkness is always awe-inspiring, but having the eclipse low in the sky made it more magical."

The whole trip took much preparation and planning. Madam Tay, 62, who is also retired and previously worked as an internal auditor for a multinational corporation, said they booked their apartment over a year ago to avoid accommodation being all sold out.

They are already planning their next trip, to catch an eclipse in Patagonia, South America, next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2019, with the headline 'Beautiful Science'. Print Edition | Subscribe