Home India News Annular solar eclipse begins in Delhi

Annular solar eclipse begins in Delhi


New Delhi : The millennium’s longest annular solar eclipse began in the national capital Friday but fog and cloudy skies marred a clear view of the celestial spectacle.

Although seen only partially from here, it nevertheless enthralled enthusiastic onlookers who gathered to watch the celestial phenomenon at the Nehru Planetarium and other places where special arrangements were made to view the event.

While the eclipse began at 11 a.m. in India, in Delhi the partial phase of the eclipse began at 11.53 a.m. and will end at 3.11 p.m. The maximum eclipse of 53 percent will be at 1.39 p.m.

An annular solar eclipse occurs when the sun and the moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the moon’s shadow is smaller than that of the visible disc of the sun. The covered sun, therefore, appears as a ‘Ring of Fire’, with its rays appearing spread out from the outline of the moon.

Last time India saw this ‘Ring of Fire’ was Nov 22, 1965. The maximum duration of the eclipse would be 11 minutes 8 seconds over the Indian Ocean, making it the longest annular eclipse of the millennium.

“People in southern parts of the country, especially in Dhanushkodi near Rameshwaram, will be lucky to see the heavenly sight of ‘Ring of Fire’. The eclipse will be best viewed at Dhanushkodi for a duration of 10 minutes and 13 seconds,” said N. Ratnashree, director of the Nehru Planetarium in Delhi.

The annular eclipse of the sun was visible from within a 300-km wide track that traversed half of the earth.

The path of the moon’s shadow began in Africa at 10.44 a.m. and passed through Chad, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, and Somalia. After leaving Africa, the path crossed the Indian Ocean.

The central path then continued into Asia through the extreme southern part of India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and China. A partial eclipse was seen within the much broader path, including entire India, and Bangladesh.