Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Solar Eclipse in Chennai

A partial solar eclipse occurred on March 19 and was visible in Chennai.
A day before the eclipse, the newspapers said that it would occur between 6.45 am and 7.23 am.
Also a caution was thrown not to view the Sun or the eclipse with naked eye or through binoculars.The newspapers also carried info that arrangements were made at the Birla Planetarium to project the images on a plain surface for public.On the day of eclipse, as nothing could be done at home, owing to the age-old 'beliefs' I biked to the planetarium.
Surprisingly, at 6.30 in the morning, there were about 100 people at the planetarium. More surprisingly, light refreshments were provided to enlighten the public that there is no harm in consuming food during the eclipse!
But we stayed away from the refreshments. Not for the superstitions, but we were in a hurry to stand in the queue to view the projection through the telescope!

Many kids landed at the early hours with their parents. A few press persons!After Mr. Iyam Perumal took charge as executive director of Birla Planetarium, we see many such activities happening inside the campus.
Two information notice boards on triangular boxes provided information about the eclipse.

The volunteers and staff of the planetarium were willingly assisting all those who landed at the centre on that day.
We watched the celestial event through the welder's glass and also the telescopically projected image. But I was watching the curious kids posing questions to the scientists and the staff of the centre.
One kid kept 'bothering' more people. I asked him what more information he could gather at the event.
He wrote about the experience and it is on the website for kids - YOCee!

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