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Solar eclipse underway in north India

Last updated on: March 29, 2006 18:10 IST
A total solar eclipse is underway in India on Wednesday and is partially visible in many parts of the country. The eclipse began at 2 pm at a point in North East Brazil and would end at a point near the Russia-Mongolia border.

However, it would be visible at various places in North and North East India in its later part till sunset. Many organisations, including the Nehru Planetarium here have made arrangements for people to enjoy the view of the rare celestial happening.

The eclipse would be visible in Brazil, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Libya, Egypt, Turkey, Georgia, Russia and Kazakhstan.

Urging people not to heed to superstitions, the experts have advised the people to view the eclipse only through solar filters or specially designed binoculars, telescopes and cameras. Viewing the event through dark glasses or photo films could harm the eyes, they added.

The corona, the sun's atmosphere, an awesome halo with pearl-like colours made an appearance at 4:24 pm as the new moon's shadow covered the sun. The umbra tracked eastwards in a dizzying three-hour celestial ballet across Africa and the Middle East before expiring in Asia, covering a distance of about 14,500 kilometres.

Observers got a partial eclipse some 2,500 kilometers either side of the path of totality, with about a fifth of the sun obscured in Britain, southern Sweden and the southern Gulf. In Russian capital Moscow three-fourths of the solar disc was covered by the moon, however, due to dense clouds it was not visible.

During the total eclipse the temperatures dropped by over five degree celsius. Thousands of astronomers and tourists, including from India, converged in this ancient town dating back to the Greco-Roman times as the sun remained eclipsed completely for over three minutes.

Special arrangements have also been made at several places in India, including Delhi, for people to take bath in rivers on the occasion.

A lunar eclipse also occurred in March, coinciding with the Holi festival. It is one of the rare occasions when both lunar and solar eclipse occurred in the same month.

(With PTI Inputs)