Don’t miss the grand spectacle of the solar eclipse on Thursday morning, but also take care to view it safely, the Kerala State Science and Technology Museum (KSSTM) and the Breakthrough Science Society (BSS) say.
Both institutions are collaborating to organise public viewings in selected locations across the State from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thursday. At the Central Stadium, the main venue in Thiruvananthapuram, visitors can view the progression of the eclipse on an LED screen. Solar filters, pin-hole cameras, and other facilities also would be arranged, KSSTM officials said.
For viewers in north Kerala districts, the December 26 solar eclipse will be an annular solar eclipse, where the lunar disk will obscure the centre of the sun’s disk. The outer edges of the sun will be seen as a blazing ring. For central and south Kerala, it will be a partial eclipse where the moon will obscure the solar orb only partially. The celestial phenomenon will be at its maximum by 9.30 a.m.
Visitors can see the spectacle using high quality solar filters that uses imported black polymer sheets for ₹15 apiece at the venues. “These filters reduce the intensity of the sun’s rays to 1/100,000,” P.P. Rajeevan, district coordinator, Breakthrough Science Society, said. “We are planning to set up counters in selected locations in the capital city where the public can buy the filters and learn the scientific basis of eclipses,” he said. The public can also approach the BSS office at Chempaka Nagar, near Bakery Junction, for solar filters.
In addition to Central Stadium, observation facilities are being arranged at the Gandhi Park in association with AIRO Club of Sree Chithira Thirunal Engineering College and Advent. Viewings are also being set up in other locations in the district.
You can use special-purpose solar filters, eclipse glasses or pin-hole projections—where the image of the eclipse is projected on to a surface—to view the eclipse safely. Never view the eclipse directly with the naked eye or through binoculars and telescopes. It can damage the eyes. Sunglasses, X-ray films, Mylar sheets, low-grade welding glasses also should not be used. “NASA recommends shade 14 welder’s glasses,” Mr. Rajeevan said.
The next one
A solar eclipse will be visible from north India on June 21, 2021. Kerala will have to wait till May 21, 2031 for the next annular solar eclipse.