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Longest ‘Ring of Fire’ on Friday
New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS):
Published on 13 Jan. 2010 11:30 PM IST
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Delhi is all set to watch the millenium’s longest annular solar eclipse Friday. Though it will be seen only partially here, people are nevertheless enthusiastic to see the celestial sight. Annular solar eclipse occurs when the sun and the moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the moon’s shadow is smaller than that of the visible disc of the sun. The covered sun, therefore, appears as a ‘Ring of Fire’, with its rays appearing spread out from the outline of the moon. Last time India saw this Ring of Fire was Nov 22, 1965, and it will not be witnessed again before June 21, 2020. The maximum duration of the eclipse would be 11 minutes 8 seconds over the Indian Ocean, making it the longest annular eclipse of the millennium. “People in southern parts of the country, especially in Dhanushkodi near Rameshwaram, will be lucky to see the heavenly sight of ‘Ring of Fire’. The eclipse will be best viewed at Dhanushkodi for a duration of 10 minutes and 13 seconds,” said N. Ratnashree, director of the Nehru Planetarium in Delhi. In India, the eclipse will start around 11 a.m. and end around 3.15 p.m. The eclipse will first be seen in south of Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and then move to Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi. It will end in Mizoram in the northeast. Delhi will see the partial phase of this solar eclipse. It will start at 11.53 a.m. and end at 3.11 p.m. The maximum eclipse of 53 percent will be at 1.39 p.m. Various places in the capital like the Nehru Planetarium and the Amateur Astronomers Association have made arrangements for people to watch the celestial sight Jan 15. Ravina Sharma, a teacher in one of the south Delhi schools, said that the school authorities will be bringing the students of classes 8-10 to view the eclipse through telescopes at the Nehru Planetarium. “Instead of just reading the theoretical aspects of the eclipse and seeing the pictures in the book, watching the phenomenon with their own eyes is much better. It’s like seeing their science class coming alive! Therefore we decided to not let go off this opportunity,” Sharma told IANS. Rathnasree said people should not watch the eclipse with naked eyes, and advised them to take precautionary measures while watching the celestial activity. The annular eclipse of the sun will be visible from within a 300 km wide track that will traverse half of the earth. The path of the moon’s shadow begins in Africa at 10.44 a.m. and passes through Chad, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, and Somalia. After leaving Africa, the path crosses the Indian Ocean. The central path then continues into Asia through the extreme southern part of India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and China. A partial eclipse will be seen within the much broader path, including entire India, or Bangladesh.

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