NEW DELHI: India will witness its “deepest”
annular solar eclipse
of this century this Sunday (June 21), with the
appearing as a necklace of pearls for around 30 seconds during the maximum phase along a
running through Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttarakhand.
The eclipse will be partial in the rest of the country. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the apparent size of the Moon is slightly less than that of the Sun, which leaves the outer rim of the latter uncovered, giving the appearance of a “ring of fire”.
During this eclipse, that ring is expected to be very thin as the Moon will cover up to 98.8% of the solar disc, making it the “deepest” annular eclipse of the century in India, according to experts. “Instead of a wide fiery ring, the Sun may appear as a necklace of shiny beads (known as Baily’s beads) due to light filtering through Moon’s hills and valleys,” said astrophotographer Ajay Talwar.
There’s a possibility that the Sun’s corona, an ethereal white halo around the solar disc, will be visible during this eclipse. With the next eclipse (visible from the country) 11 years away in 2031, this is a
big astronomical event
for India. Many global eclipse chasers were expected to watch it from India but the Covid-19
dashed those plans. Domestic travel curbs have dampened the plans of many Indian enthusiasts as well.
Talwar had initially planned to document the event from a high-altitude meadow near Auli in Uttarakhand. He is now headed to Sirsa, in Haryana, since it doesn’t entail crossing any state borders from his Gurgaon home.
Sneha Kesari, who runs a firm devoted to
, had planned to take international eclipse buffs to Tibet’s Mansarovar lake for the event. “Celebrated eclipse chaser Xavier Jubier was coming too, but then the trip had to be cancelled,” said Kesari.
The prominent places within the narrow central path of the eclipse are Dehradun, Kurukshetra, Chamoli, Joshimath, Sirsa and Suratgarh. The partial eclipse will be visible in India from different places at different timings between 9.56 am and 2.28 pm. In Delhi, the eclipse will begin at 10.19 am and end at 1.48 pm, with the maximum phase occurring at 12.01 pm.
Announcing the timing and phases of the eclipse, the ministry of earth sciences (MoES) on Tuesday said, “In India, the obscuration of the Sun by the Moon at the time of greatest phase of the annular eclipse will be nearly 98.6%.”
Issuing advisories including dos and don’ts for people who would like to watch the solar eclipse, the MoES said, “The eclipsed Sun should not be viewed with the naked eye, even for a very short time. It will cause permanent damage to the eyes leading to blindness even when the moon covers most portion of the Sun.”
It said, “The safe technique to observe the solar eclipse is either by using a proper filter like aluminized Mylar, black polymer, welding glass of shade number 14 or by making projection of Sun’s image on a whiteboard by telescope.”