Bengaluru gears up for solar eclipse

Over 4,500 eclipse goggles have been sold by Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium

December 25, 2019 11:05 pm | Updated December 26, 2019 06:36 am IST

Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium has made arrangements to ensure enthusiasts can view the solar eclipse in a safe manner.

Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium has made arrangements to ensure enthusiasts can view the solar eclipse in a safe manner.

Will the cloudy sky play spoilsport and prevent enthusiasts from viewing the solar eclipse? According to the Meteorological Department's forecast, the weather in the city will be generally cloudy, with light rain expected.

Notwithstanding the gloomy weather, the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium has made all arrangements to ensure enthusiasts can view the solar eclipse in a safe manner. Karnataka Gnana Vignana Samiti, in association with Astronomical Society and Karnataka State Walkers’ Association, has made arrangements at Lalbagh between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.

The annular eclipse, or ‘the ring of fire’, is a rare spectacle. In Bengaluru, the eclipse will begin at 8.06 a.m. and end at 11.11 a.m. The maximum eclipse can be viewed at 9.29 a.m.

According to Pramod Galgali, director of the planetarium, there has been a lot of interest among students and enthusiasts about the eclipse. Already, over 4,500 eclipse goggles have been sold by the planetarium. “We will have five telescopes projecting the sun's image. This is perhaps the safest way to see the eclipse. That apart, we will also have H Alfa solar imaging, which will help us see a portion of the sun's surface,” he said.

However, he admitted that viewing the eclipse would be difficult in case of cloudy weather. “Those who wish to come to the planetarium to view the eclipse may call first, depending on the weather conditions,” he added. He also said the planetarium would be web casting the eclipse on its website (

Those at home may use a mirror to reflect the sun on a wall, use goggles distributed by the planetarium or use welder's glasses (no. 14 density) to view the eclipse.

Cautioning citizens against viewing the eclipse directly, Bhujang Shetty, ophthalmologist, Narayana Nethralaya, said it could permanently damage the eyes.

Sun gazing during a solar eclipse or even during normal daylight hours can burn the retina, which can lead to permanent blindness. Also known as solar retinopathy, damage to the retinal tissues caused due to exposure to solar radiation can affect the way images are transmitted to the brain. People affected by solar retinopathy may experience decreased vision, distorted vision, blind spots (central scotomas), light sensitivity (photophobia), disruption of colour perception (chromatopsia) and headaches. It is therefore advisable not to watch the solar eclipse with naked eyes.

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