Hyderabad: The people of the city would be able to witness the annular solar eclipse a day after the Christmas festivity. The celestial treat, experts say, would begin on December 26, which can be seen from large parts of India as a partial eclipse, in which a part of the sun would not be visible to the human eye.
In the city, the eclipse would begin at 8.02 am and reach the maximum, implying the sun would be covered up to 74 per cent by the moon, at 10.47 am. After that the eclipse will begin to withdraw and end at 1.35 pm.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Dr B.G. Sidharth, director, Birla Science Centre, said, “The interesting aspect of this eclipse, which is the last in 2019, is that it would be visible from a few select places in south India, including Cannanore, Coimbatore, Kozhikode, Madurai, Mangaluru, Ooty and Tiruchirapally, where the eclipsed sun will appear as a shining bangle, with only the periphery of the sun will be visible. From all other places in India, only a partial eclipse can be seen between 8.02 am and 12.30 pm.”
Dr Sidharth said, the eclipse occurs when moon comes in between the sun and the earth, and the shadow of the moon falls on earth. When people see a moon’s shadow instead of the sun, the impact is one of an eclipsed sun. Usually, the size of the shadow and its nature varies. It is only when a total shadow falls on earth that we see either a ring eclipse, or a total solar eclipse. The ring eclipse will last for less than three minutes this year. He cautioned onlookers that precaution must be taken when viewing an eclipse because the sun’s bright rays, in particular, the UV rays, can damage the human eye, especially the retina. The safest way to see an eclipse is by projecting it through binoculars on to a TV or computer screen. Certified solar goggles could also be used.
Two other ways which are not deemed safe are through a layer of exposed photographic film or smoked glass, or by observing the reflection of the eclipse in a bowl of black oil, he explained. There are many old tales about eclipses, among them, that pregnant women should not see them or that one should fast during an eclipse. All these so called beliefs have no scientific basis what so ever, he said. The city-based Planetary Society of India will be working with as many as 200 minority residential schools so that they can have a glimpse of the eclipse.