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Ring of Fire visible in India, State
Published on 16 Jan. 2010 1:34 AM IST
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NEW DELHI, JAN 15 (IANS): Millions of Hindus bathed in holy rivers and tanks across India after a four-hour celestial spectacle that turned the sun into a ‘Ring of Fire’, bringing out science enthusiasts to view and record the rare event. The spectacle was also witnessed for brief periods in parts of Nagaland but due to overcast sky, the Sun could not be clearly seen. A picture of how the ‘Ring of Fire’ appeared in Mokokchung was sent by the Correspondent of this newspaper. A partial eclipse was seen in most states, but the ‘Ring of Fire’ was at the height of its splendour in the southern tip of Tamil Nadu where large crowds erupted in joy and clapped on seeing the rare spectacle. Even the bustling Maha Kumbh Mela at Haridwar fell relatively silent as bathers completed their morning pre-eclipse rituals by 11.30 a.m. when the sun went into the shadow of the new moon in Uttarakhand. Temples all over reopened around 4 p.m. after the sun emerged from the shadow of the moon. Hundreds of thousands of bathers flocked to the Ganges and other holy rivers for a “cleansing” bath. “This (eclispe) is an inauspicious period when the atmospheric pollution increases,” seer Radheshyam Maharajji, who had been camping at the banks of the Ganges in Haridwar with seven men from his order, told IANS. The longest annular solar eclipse of the millennium touched the southern tip of India at 11.06 a.m. The path of the eclipse began in central Africa, crossed the Indian Ocean and then moved to Southeast Asia, ending in southeastern China. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the sun is covered by the new moon, but its shadow is not big enough to cover the entire disc of the sun. The result is a ‘Ring of Fire’ around the covered centre of the sun. Such a phenomenon was last seen in India Nov 22, 1965. It will not be seen in the country again before June 21, 2020. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched five rockets during the eclipse, carrying instruments to measure its effects in the earth’s atmosphere and ionosphere. A group of enthusiasts on board India’s first eclipse cruise ship, Aquamarine, had a longer view in the Maldives. “The sun looked like a moon in the sky changing shapes, starting from crescent to forming a ring”, Rishika Smera, a Class 2 student from Gujarat, told IANS. Science communication organisation SPACE (Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators) organised the cruise. Its scientists captured images of the ‘Ring of Fire’ and Bailey’s Beads. The beads are little patches of sun seen in between the undulating surface of the moon. Planetariums, science museums, schools and colleges organised special sessions to let enthusiasts watch and understand the spectacle.

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