A majority of the people remained indoors and the roads were deserted for most part of Friday on account of the annular solar eclipse.

Most of the shops were closed in Hampanakatta , City Market, Balamatta and Mahatma Gandhi Road, even as there were few vehicles on the roads. Many private buses also remained off the road.

Even petroleum outlets were deserted. At a private corporate office, a woman employee said she was afraid of venturing out of the office

Many schools remained closed on Friday. This drew sharp criticism at St. Agnes High School, where different organisations had arranged for public viewing of the solar eclipse. Schools could have made arrangements for viewing the eclipse and created public awareness about the facts related to it, said H. Jayantha, Professor of Chemistry, St. Agnes College. Some enthusiasts at the venue said that closing the schools could encourage superstitions among the people about the celestial phenomenon. People on the high school playground exchanged the special glasses among themselves to have a better view of the eclipse. Prof. Jayantha kept cautioning the people over the public addressing system that viewing the eclipse without protection could harm the eyes.

Many people said that the temperature dipped for a short while, when the moon had almost covered the sun. When a nun pointed out to Prof Jayantha that he was standing in the sun for long, he said the sun was not all that harsh. Arrangements for public viewing had been made by the Karnataka Rajya Vijnana Parishat; Amateur Astronomers Association; Value-Oriented Education (Valored); and Bharat Jnana Vijnana Samiti. Using a telescope, they projected the images of the eclipse on a cardboard held by volunteers.

Prof. Jayantha told the people that the type of eclipse witnessed on Friday would occur once in every 118 years and 11.3 days. Those who were expecting to see a ring around the sun were disappointed because Mangalore witnessed 75 per cent to 80 per cent eclipse on Friday.

An animation movie showing how the eclipse happens developed by the college’s Science Forum member, Fathimath Afsana, was shown on a laptop by students.

Partial view in Udupi

Our Udupi Staff Correspondent reports: A large number of people, including students, watched the solar eclipse at Poornaprajna College here on Friday. The Poornaprajna Amateur Astronomers’ Club had set up pinhole cameras at the college. A few students bought the special glasses that the Karnataka Rajya Vijnana Parishat (KRVP) had released for the occasion. The eclipse was partially visible in Udupi between 11.07 a.m. and 3.06 p.m., peaking at 1.15 p.m.

The interest among students to watch the eclipse was not deterred by the clouds that covered the sun every now and then. M.P. Kumar, a first year M.Sc. student at Manipal Life Sciences Centre, said, “I am thrilled to view the eclipse. I came to know how to watch it safely here,” he said.

Sampath Kumar, a second year B.Sc. student at Poornaprajna College, said that the pinhole camera helped him watch the eclipse. “Although it was cloudy for some time, my friends and I managed to see this rare event,” he said.

A.P. Bhat, Head of the Department of Physics at the college, said that nearly 300 people watched the eclipse at the venue. “All the 70 special glasses of KRVP were sold out.

There were enquiries for glasses from Kasaragod and Surathkal,” he said. Students had displayed charts explaining the concept of eclipse at the venue. Traffic was thin during the eclipse.