It was supposed to be a once in a life time opportunity and many of those who could catch it live would definitely remember it for the rest of their life. Yes I am talking about the Total Solar Eclipse. As dawn broke on Wednesday,the century’s longest total solar eclipse began with thousands of sky gazers craning their neck skywards to catch the glimpse of the rare celestial spectacle.
The sun rose eclipsed on Wednesday morning at 5:28 am at a local sunrise point in the Arabian Sea close to the western coast of India near Surat in Gujarat. Tens of thousands of people all over India woke up early for a change and gathered at rooftops, planetariums and parks to watch the century’s longest total solar eclipse. In India, the totality phase was expected to last for some 3 minutes 30 seconds and places like Surat in Gujarat, Indore and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Patna and Taregna in Bihar were expected to observe the total solar eclipse. The total phase of the eclipse is expected to last 6 minutes and 44 seconds, making it the longest eclipse of the century. The next such celestial spectacle will take place 2132.
Weather plays spoilsport
Taragna, 27 km north of the state capital Patna, has been caught in a wave of media attention ever since the US’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said earlier this month that it was the best place to catch a glimpse of this century’s longest total solar eclipse. But the weather gods had different plans. Taregna woke up to a cloudy morning. A mindboggling two lakh star gazers including researchers, astronomers and scientists, from across the globe descended on Taregna. In the last three days specially designed sun goggles sold like hot cakes in Taregna but in the end only one thing mattered and it was the weather. Taregna, which is suddenly boasting temporary toilets, repaired roads and uninterrupted electricity supply to cater to its many visitors from India and abroad could not be a good host thanks to the weather playing havoc L The MET department’s prediction went wrong once again. A group of 50 people also left for Gaya in Bihar in a chartered flight from Delhi to chase the eclipse above the clouds at a height of 41,000 feet. The flight has been organised by SPACE
Delhi witnessed 90 per cent of the eclipse. Khurakshetra where 15 lakh piligrims had assembled got a good view of the solar eclipse. CHINA was lucky enough to witness the Total Solar eclipse as clear skies aided the scientists, astronomers to carry out their experiments.
Solar eclipse trackers located on the ground were not the only ones studying the spectacle but the IAF and astrophysicists will also conduct experiments and take photos of the celestial event from a fighter jet and a transport aircraft. A Mirage-2000 fighter jet and an AN-32 medium lift transport aircraft would be flown by IAF pilots to assist scientists from Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous body of the Department of Science.
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