BANGALORE: Whether out of superstitious fear or scientific curiosity, Friday’s solar eclipse has got people across the State gearing up for the celestial spectacle.
Mangalore and Udupi will be the first to see the beginnings of the eclipse at 11.07 a.m., followed by Madikeri and Karwar (11.09 a.m.). In Bangalore the eclipse begins at 11.16 a.m., reaching its peak at 1.23 p.m. and ending at 3.11 p.m. The magnitude of the eclipse will be 84 per cent here while it will be 85 per cent in Kolar and Ramanagara. “We hope to have a clear view of the celestial spectacle and that it is not obscured by clouds,” said C.S. Shukre, Director of Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, which is making all preparations to show this memorable event to the people. “We will be projecting the image on a screen, which is the safest way to observe the eclipse. We have facilities to enlarge the image and observe the details,” he said. This will be shown between 11.20 a.m. and 3 p.m.
People are concerned about precautions to take, essentially on how to protect the eyes. Ophthalmologists have cautioned people against watching the eclipse with the naked eye as it can cause retinal damage, especially to children between 10 and 15 years. People are being advised to make use of pin-hole cameras.
Brisk sale of solar goggles (priced at Rs. 25 a pair) was seen at the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium on Wednesday. In addition to the goggles, the planetarium has also published a new booklet “The How and Why of Eclipses” also priced at Rs. 25. This booklet, printed in English and Kannada, provides information on the spectacle, how best to watch it and also enumerates past and future dates of solar eclipses and their duration. It also debunks various myths related to solar and lunar eclipse. Solar goggles will be available in all the leading bookstores in Bangalore.
Meanwhile, a large number of temples across the city are preparing to perform pujas. They are advising people to refrain from consuming anything between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m and to stay indoors to meditate and recite religious texts. It has been reported that this is the longest annular solar eclipse of the millennium. The next one to exceed this would be in 3043.