Astronomy buffs will be treated to a kaleidoscopic view of the recent annular solar eclipse that was visible over parts of South India. The Amateur Astronomers’ Association (Mumbai) is organising “Ring of Fire”, a programme describing the eclipse at locations where field trips were organised.
An annular eclipse such as the one that took place on 15 January is an extremely rare celestial event. Because of the larger distance between the moon and the earth than during other “normal” eclipses, the moon does not completely block out the sun but appears as a “hole” surrounded by a ring of light.
The best view of the eclipse was at Dhanushkodi in Tamil Nadu, where over 90% of the sun was covered by the moon for several minutes. The ring of fire was also seen clearly over Kanyakumari, Rameshwaram and other parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. At Varkala, 50 km north of Trivandrum, which was the northern limit of the path of totality, a breathtaking view of Bailey’s Beads was observed and recorded.
The AAA has been organising programmes to educate the public about how solar eclipses should be viewed, along with their other activities. Special filters were provided at no cost to those who were keen on watching the celestial event. In Mumbai, at St Xavier’s College AAA organised an eclipse watch that enabled students and others to view the partial eclipse that was visible over the city. Unlike the almost total eclipse of July last year when the sky was obliterated by a thick cloud cover, January’s eclipse took place in clear skies that offered a magnificent view.
Ring of Fire
When: 13 March 2010, 3:30 pm
Where:Multi Media Room at St Xavier’s College, Mumbai
Event is open to the public
Eclipse chasers who are keen to share their observations at the programme may e-mail their details to email@example.com. Limited slots are available for a short presentation.
Secretary, AAA (Bombay)