Rain, thick clouds dampen plans to view solar eclipse in north India
NEW DELHI: People in many parts of north India were unable to view the solar eclipse on Sunday due to a thick cloud cover and rain in some parts.
Scientists had predicted that the eclipse, that happened after a gap of 14 years, will be visible in Suratgarh in Rajasthan, Sirsa and Kurukshetra in Haryana, Dehradun, Uttarkhand and in Tapowan in Himachal Pradesh.
At the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) in Nainital, where scientists had made arrangements for live streaming of the eclipse, weather played a spoilsport.
Wahab Uddin, senior scientist at ARIES said clouds cleared briefly at around 12.10 pm, when the eclipse was live streamed on YouTube. “Had weather been good, we would have witnessed a good crowd,” he said.
Since an eclipse is considered inauspicious, temples were shut in most parts of Uttarakhand in the morning. In Haridwar, most places of worship remained closed in the morning. After solar eclipse ended at 2:51 pm, temples were cleaned.
In Madhya Pradesh, people watched solar eclipse in groups while also maintaining social distancing, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “It was a great experience to watch the ring of fire very clearly amid clouds. I made all arrangements including spectacles and telescope so that common people could enjoy the moment. Spectacles were not allowed to be exchanged due to COVID-19 situation but telescope was sanitised properly,” said science enthusiast Sarika Gharu.
In Kolkata, students and astronomy enthusiasts thronged the Birla Planetarium. “This was one of those moments for which people have to wait for years,” said Debiprasad Duari, director, M P Birla Planetarium. In Rajasthan, astronomers and mediapersons assembled in Patroda village of Sriganganagar where the eclipse was said to be most clearly visible.
The annular solar eclipse as seen from (top left to right) Kolkata, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, (centre L to R) Bengaluru, Ghaziabad, Patna and (bottom L to R) Chennai, New Delhi and Mumbai on Sunday.