Planetarium dispels superstitions on solar eclipse

Annular solar eclipse on December 26

December 23, 2019 07:29 am | Updated 07:29 am IST - TIRUCHI

Having made arrangements for viewing the annular solar eclipse, Anna Science Centre-Planetarium has sought to dispel superstitious beliefs connected to the celestial event.

Joined by representatives of the Tiruchi Science Forum and Tiruchi Astro Club supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, officials of Anna Science Centre on Sunday threw light on how families can watch the astronomical event on December 26 with materials easily available at home.

“The annular solar eclipse, a rare kind, when the moon comes in between the sun and the Earth would reflect as a ‘ring of fire’. It will be visible to residents of Tiruchi, Manapparai, Udhagamandalam, Erode, Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Dindigul and adjoining areas from 8.07 a.m to 11.15 a.m. The maximum eclipse can be witnessed for just a minute and 48 seconds at 9.30 a.m. onwards. In Manapparai, which is directly under the eclipse, the maximum eclipse will last for three minutes, from 9.30 a.m. to 9.33 a.m. Those with special equipment can watch it in the eastern direction,” T.V. Venkateswaran, Vigyan Prasar, Department of Science and Technology, said.

The next annual solar eclipse will occur only in 2034, Mr. Venkateswaran said.

Dispelling superstitions about not eating during the eclipse or the fear among pregnant women to go outdoors, he said that the fears have not been scientifically proved.

“But, those who wish to observe the eclipse must not view it with the naked eye as it may cause harm to the retina. Telescopes have been established at four locations. For those unable to access them, a mirror reflection of the sun projected onto a wall can be viewed,” he said.

The use of cameras, binoculars to view the eclipse is also harmful, Mr. Venkateswaran added.

The Tiruchi Science Forum has organised viewing at Bharathi Matriculation Higher Secondary School- Edamalaipatti Pudur, Orchard School-KK Nagar, Crea Children Academy - Matriculation Higher Secondary School-Nagamangalam.

Apart from these locations, the Anna Science Centre-Planetarium has also made elaborate arrangements to view the eclipse safely.

P. Sreekumar, coordinator, Anna Science Centre-Planetarium, J. Manohar, district secretary, Tamil Nadu, Science Forum, and Bala Bharathi, Secretary, Tiruchi Astro Club, also addressed the media.

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