Madurai

Madurai residents gather in large numbers to view solar eclipse

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Mariamman Teppakulam saw hundreds clutching solar filter cardboard glasses to see natural phenomenon

Mariamman Teppakulam in Madurai saw hundreds of children and adults clutching solar filter cardboard glasses to view the annular solar eclipse on Thursday morning.

The event saw several first-timers, including V. Ayyanprakash (13), who said that he heard about the eclipse in school and dragged his family along to see the event.

His mother V. Dhatchayani said, “Though there was some initial apprehension about going out during the eclipse, we decided to go. Our children learn of this phenomenon only in books. It is only right that we also give them the necessary practical knowledge and encourage learning,” she said.

M. Shobana (10), who excitedly pointed at the almost-complete ring at around 9.20 a.m., said that she came with her grandparents for viewing. Her grandfather K. Sasidharan said that it was time for people to stop believing in superstition and experience science first-hand.

Director, Galileo Science Centre, A. Sathya Manickam, who was one of the organisers of the viewing, distributed several solar filter glasses and made announcements regarding the position of the moon and the sun during the eclipse. “We knew that we would see sizable crowds but the numbers were overwhelming this morning. Madurai city usually sees several people steeped in superstitious beliefs. The change in numbers proves progress and greater spread of information,” he said.

He repeatedly cautioned the public against directly looking at the sun as the solar rays would harm the eyes. “The eyes are sensitive. One can choose to wear glasses with solar filter and look at the sun. They must take pauses periodically to ensure that the eyes are not strained,” he said.

Volunteers of the organisation helped people catch a glimpse of the eclipse through telescopes. They also distributed cups of sweet pongal to dispel the notion of fasting during an eclipse.

The centre hosted a drawing contest for students at the spot as well.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 4:21:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/madurai-residents-gather-in-large-numbers-to-view-solar-eclipse/article30400523.ece

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