Total solar eclipses have struck awe or fear into hearts for millennia, but scientists are more interested in the unusual mathematics behind the gold-and-indigo lightshow.
Superstition has always haunted the moment when Earth, Moon and Sun are perfectly aligned. The daytime extinction of the Sun, the source of all life, is associated with war, famine, flood and the death or birth of rulers, reports AFP.
Millions of people across Asia will witness the longest total solar eclipse that will happen this century, as vast swaths of India and China, the entire city of Shanghai and southern Japanese islands are plunged into darkness Wednesday for about five minutes.
Streams of amateur stargazers and scientists are traveling long distances to witness the once-in-a-lifetime event.
Astronomers hope the eclipse will unlock clues about the sun, while an astrologer in Myanmar predicts it could usher in chaos. Some in India are advising pregnant relatives to stay indoors to follow a centuries-old tradition of avoiding the sun's invisible rays, The Associated Press informs.
The eclipse will be visible between 5.20am to 7.40am, from within a narrow corridor spanning half the Earth.
In India, the path of the eclipse will cover the cities of Surat, Indore, Bhopal, Varanasi and Patna, according to Global Voices Online.