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Catching up with Venus

Dhanbad, June 6: More than 100 enthusiasts in Dhanbad — students, teachers, Coal India Limited officials — gathered at ISM to witness the speck called Venus on sun’s disc.

The special observation of 90 minutes — from 8.15am to 9.45am — hosted by the mine surveying section of the ISM’s department of mining engineering, was supervised by professor P.P. Bahuguna and associate professor Dhiraj Kumar.

An advanced astronomical telescope of Carl Zeiss Jena was installed for safe and accurate viewing. Technical assistant of ISM’s mine surveying department Sunil Kumar helped arrange equipment. “We wanted more people to watch this celestial phenomenon and debunk myths or superstitions,” said Dhiraj Kumar.

“A black speck was observed on the sun’s face around 8.15am. Gradually, it moved towards the outer periphery of the sun and disappeared around 9.45am,” he added.

The ISM functionaries decided to make the phenomenon visible to many people at one time through imaging. Instead of individual sightings through the telescope’s eyepiece, they arranged the image’s reflection to fall on paper for collective viewing.

“It was the experience of a lifetime. Unlike a solar or lunar eclipse, this transit will happen next in 2117. We won’t be around then,” gushed Alok Kumar, first-year student of MTech in geomatics.

He added that there was a world of difference between reading about a celestial event and seeing it happen.

“I can’t describe what I felt in words. Great feeling!” said Sunil Kumar.

Professor Bahuguna added that they had made all arrangements by 7.30am. “It was thrilling to wait and thrilling to watch,” he summed up.