Madhur Tankha

NEW DELHI: The much awaited total solar eclipse on August 1 will be visible only partially in India.

However, the good news is that the northern parts of the country will see quite a large fraction of the sun’s disc eclipsed by the moon.


There is a word of caution for celestial observers. Watching the total solar eclipse through naked eyes or telescopes without protection could damage the eyes.

Pointing out that a total solar eclipse requires the umbra of the moon’s shadow to touch the surface of the earth, Nehru Planetarium Director N. Rathnasree said on Monday: “Due to the relative sizes of the moon and the sun and their relative distances from earth, the path of totality is usually very narrow. This narrow belt will this year pass through the north of the country and will fall on Russia and China.”

Workshops for schools

To create awareness about the astronomical event, the Planetarium in collaboration with Science Popularisation of Communicators and Educators (SPACE), a non-government organisation, will organise a preparatory workshop for schools at Teen Murti House here on July 25.

Pointing out that preparatory workshops for schools were meant to help them watch the eclipse safely, Dr. Rathnasree said the workshops would plan possible observations, measurements and activities related to the eclipse.

“The workshops will look at safe methods of observing eclipses using pinhole cameras, binocular box projections, projection using a small telescope, imaging the eclipsed sun using digital cameras and webcams, measuring relative angular diameters of the sun and the moon using the projected images, and measuring the progress of the eclipse,” she added.

Stating that interested schools could opt for either the simple beginner activities or more advanced activities, the Planetarium Director said it was not necessary to have a telescope to organise a safe eclipse watch at school. Meanwhile, SPACE will conduct workshops in various schools of Delhi from July 21 to 24 to dispel some of the myths related to the eclipse.