Tamil Nadu

Hundreds turn up to witness solar eclipse in the Nilgiris

Solar eclipse at Pappampatti in Coimbatore on Thursday December 26, 2019.

Solar eclipse at Pappampatti in Coimbatore on Thursday December 26, 2019.   | Photo Credit: M. Periasamy

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The Nilgiris was one of the few places in India where the eclipse was visible

Hundreds of residents from across the Nilgiris turned up at the Government Arts College grounds as well as the Radio Astronomy Centre in Udhagamandalam on Thursday to catch a glimpse of the annular solar eclipse, which was clearly visible in the Nilgiris.

The event was organised by the Radio Astronomy Centre (RAC) in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu Science Forum, Khagol Mandal, and the Public Outreach and Education Committee of the Astronomical Society of India.

Scientists were at hand to explain the eclipse to the public, including many young children from schools across the Nilgiris. The Nilgiris was one of the few places in India where the eclipse was visible, they said.

The scientists also dispelled the belief among public that it was harmful to consume food and said birds during annularity usually go to roost as the drop in light levels confuses them into thinking that it was evening.

S. Sandhya, a school student, said that she was extremely excited to catch a sight of the eclipse. “This is my first-ever eclipse event I have witnessed,” said Ms. Sandhya, who said that she had many questions about an eclipse event which were answered by scientists. “I always wondered how the moon exactly eclipses the sun during an annular solar eclipse as the Sun is many times the size of the moon, and got my query answered by a scientist,” she said.

Aniket Sule, who chairs the Public Outreach Committee of the Astronomical Society of India, said that he was extremely pleased at the excellent turnout, especially young children who were very curious.

Mr. Sule said that solar eclipses also offered opportunities for scientists to conduct specific experiments and observations, like studying the sun’s corona or the outer layer, which is usually hidden by the bright light of its surface, but is much more easily seen during an eclipse. “In the past, total solar eclipses have helped confirm Einstein’s theory of general relativity and also led to the discovery of Helium,” he added.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 1:20:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hundreds-turn-up-to-witness-solar-eclipse-in-the-nilgiris/article30400748.ece

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