THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The capital city is preparing to host a variety of programmes to coincide with the annular solar eclipse on Friday. The City Corporation and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) are trying to ensure that all school going students are able to watch the rare celestial event.
The two agencies have made arrangements to install telescopes in schools across the district.
While the Corporation has provided telescopes and solar filters for 40 schools in the city, the SSA has set up observatories in 13 Block Resource Centres in the district under the Drishyam 2010 programme.
At the Chalai Government UP School, the SSA has set up an observatory with facilities like telescope, solar projector and solar filters. “The observatory has been set up not just for the purpose of viewing the annular solar eclipse but as a permanent facility where students can gaze at stars and learn more about astronomy,” said school headmaster G. Ajayan.
Apart from this, the SSA District Project Office and the Corporation will organise the ‘Kazhcha 2010’ programme at Central Stadium where around 1,500 students from city schools will participate in special programmes on astronomy besides viewing the eclipse.
The SSA and Kerala State Science and Technology Museum is also organising the ‘Sourotsavam’ programme at the Kanakakunnu Palace on Friday where special arrangements will be made for 1500 selected school students and around 500 teachers from across the State to view the eclipse. “The programme also includes classes by eminent scientists on solar eclipse, the origin of the universe, life of stars and other astronomy topics. Around 500 delegates from outside the State are also expected to take part in the programme,” an SSA official said.
A highlight of ‘Sourotsavam’ will be brewing of tea by Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy.
The Minister will brew tea on a solar cooker and distribute it to guests to break the superstition of not having food during eclipse. However, the most important think to remember while viewing the eclipse is not to view the sun directly, using naked eyes or even through a telescope without solar filter, the official added.
The eclipse will extend from 11.05 a.m. to 3.30 p.m., while the seven minute annular solar eclipse will be visible between 1.10 p.m. to 1.20 p.m.
A team of German scientists will arrive in the city to watch the eclipse on Friday which will be most visible in the southern tip of India. International Astronomical Union member Daniel Fischer will inaugurate the Amateur Astronomers Organisation on Thursday at the PMG Planetarium Hall.