Astronomy enthusiasts in the city were able to catch a glimpse of the partial solar eclipse on Tuesday evening, when the Moon comes between the Sun and Earth, but does not cover the Sun completely.
A live programme on watching the phenomenon was organised for the public by Tiruchi Astro Club in association with Tamil Nadu Astronomy and Science Society, Ariviyal Palagai and Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre at Bharathi School in Indian Bank Colony, Crea School in Nagamangalam, and Orchard School in K.K. Nagar.
“The eclipse could be viewed very low in the horizon with difficulty from 3-8% coverage in Tamil Nadu, given our geographical location. As Tiruchi is centrally situated in the State, around 5.8% was visible, while in Chennai it was a little over 8%,” K. Balakrishnan, Principal and Correspondent, Bharathi Matriculation School, told The Hindu.
The organisers had arranged an eight-inch telescope fitted with a solar filter at the Bharathi School campus, while a refractor telescope was connected to a laptop to stream the proceedings live on online platforms.
In Tiruchi, it was observed that the Moon began to cover the Sun at 5.20 p.m. from the top right side, and attained the maximum extent by 5.40 p.m.
At least 60 members of the public gathered to watch the event directly with safety protocols at Bharathi Matriculation School, while the online platforms attracted close to 90 persons.
“We ensured that only projected images were seen by the public as it is unsafe to look directly at the Sun during an eclipse. More should be done to concentrate on the science behind this phenomenon rather than the misconceptions and myths around it,” said Mr. Balakrishnan.