Monday, 30th October 2017

E- paper

Cloud eclipses partial solar spectacle

The eclipse was more prominent in parts of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu

  • Published 27.12.19, 3:49 AM
  • Updated 27.12.19, 3:49 AM
  • a min read
  •  
This picture of the eclipse was clicked by Arup Ratan Dutta, senior consultant nephrologist from Calcutta, at Nileshwar, a small town on the Kerala coast

Astronomy enthusiasts in the city, perched behind telescopes since Thursday morning, only got to see one or two glimpses of the partial solar eclipse because of overcast conditions.

Scores of people, mostly students, had turned up at the Birla Industrial and Technological Museum, where telescopes had been placed. The Positional Astronomy Centre in Salt Lake’s Sector V also had enthusiasts. But little was visible.

Calcutta was not the best place to see the annular solar eclipse that happens when the disc of the moon covers the central portion of the sun, leaving only a ring-like peripheral region, called the “ring of fire”, visible.

An annular eclipse takes place when the Earth comes closest to the sun, so that the sun looks a little bigger than usual. Around the same time, the moon reaches its farthest position in its orbit, thereby appearing a little smaller than the average full moon. In such a situation, if a solar eclipse occurs, the disc of the moon cannot completely cover the sun.

The solar eclipse as seen from the city on Thursday.
The solar eclipse as seen from the city on Thursday.
Pictures by Santosh Ghosh and Pradip Sanyal

“The annular solar eclipse was to be seen along a narrow patch of 118km in the southern part of the country. The rest of the country was to observe a partial eclipse,” said Debiprosad Duari, the director (research and academic) of the MP Birla Planetarium. The eclipse was more prominent in parts of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

In Calcutta, the sky was overcast throughout Thursday. Around 9.52am, what an expert said would have been the peak time — when the eclipse is most pronounced — a thick cover of cloud blanketed the sky in the city.

Duari, who was in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor, said: “The eclipse started at 8.05am. The peak time came at 9.27am. It was a spectacular sight. The eclipse was over around 11am.”