Parts Of North India Witnessing Full Solar Eclipse
The sun is seen prior to the start of a solar eclipse (Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

Parts Of North India Witnessing Full Solar Eclipse

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An annular solar eclipse, wherein the Sun appears like a ring of fire, will be visible in parts of the country on Sunday, the Ministry of Earth Sciences said.

The partial phase of the eclipse will begin at 9:16 a.m. The annular phase will start at 10:19 a.m. and end at 2:02 p.m. The partial phase of the eclipse will end at 3:04 p.m., it added.

"Close to noon, for a small belt in north India the eclipse will turn into a beautiful annular (ring-shaped) one since the Moon is not close enough to cover the Sun completely," the Astronomical Society of India said.

The annular phase will be visible in the morning from some places within a narrow corridor of northern India -- parts of Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttarakhand. A few prominent places within this narrow annularity path are Dehradun, Kurukshetra, Chamoli, Joshimath, Sirsa, Suratgarh.

From the rest of the country, it will be visible as partial solar eclipse.

The annular path also passes through Congo, Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Pakistan, and China.

The next annular eclipse will be seen from South America in December 2020. Another annular eclipse will occur in 2022, but that it will be hardly visible from India, said N Rathnashree the Director of Nehru Planetarium in Delhi.

A solar eclipse occurs on a new moon day when the Moon comes in between the Earth and the Sun and when all the three celestial objects are aligned.

An annular solar eclipse occurs when the angular diameter of the Moon falls short of that of the Sun such that it cannot cover up the latter completely. As a result, a ring of the Sun's disk remains visible around the Moon. This gives an image of a ring of fire.

Obscuration of the Sun by the Moon at the time of greatest phase of the partial eclipse will be around 94% in Delhi, 80% in Guwahati, 78% in Patna, 75% in Silchar, 66%in Kolkata, 62% in Mumbai, 37% in Bangalore, 34% in Chennai, 28% in Port Blair.

"Places like Delhi will be dark for 5-7 minutes from 11 to 11:30 p.m.," said Arvind Paranjpye, the Director of the Nehru Planetarium in Mumbai.

"During the eclipse, there are cases when avian creatures assume that it is time to go back to their roosts. However, there has to be more study on the impact of eclipse on birds," he added.

He cautioned that solar eclipse should not be viewed with the naked eye, even for a very short time as it can cause permanent damage even leading to blindness.

The safe technique to observe the solar eclipse is either by using a proper filter like aluminised mylar, black polymer, welding glass of shade number 14 or by making a projection of the Sun's image on a white board by telescope.

Several organisations have organised lectures on the eclipse and also the virtual viewing of the phenomenon.

Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences, Nainital, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology has organised a special lecture on 'The Science of Solar Eclipses'.

The Nehru Planetarium, Delhi will be webcasting the eclipse, apart from organising discussions, its director Rathnashree said.

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