Solar eclipses take place every year, often more than once. The moon comes between the earth and the sun, blocking the sun’s rays. If this happens during the daytime, it becomes dark on earth, almost like dusk, confusing the birds and everyone else as well.
When the moon’s apparent diameter is smaller than the sun’s, it makes a small circle over the circular sun, making the sun look like a ring or an annulus. This is called an annular eclipse, and this is what it was on 15th January 2010. As per NASA, this was in fact the longest annular solar eclipse of the millennium (maximum eclipse of 11 minutes, 7.8 seconds), and the longest that will be seen until December 23, 3043. In Bangalore unfortunately, we did not see the “annular” ring, but it was quite an experience nonetheless.
On 15th January 2010, we had a good gathering of residents of Brigade Millennium, Bangalore, on the terrace of Mayflower Block, to see the eclipse. They were all given some basic information about eclipses, and misconceptions were clarified.
It’s dangerous to look at the sun with naked eyes because the sun’s ultraviolet rays can burn the retina. This is the case everyday. More so during an eclipse such as this because we all have the tendency to look at the sun for a longer time. Everyone was suitably given instructions. We had special film glasses, and also pin hole cameras made using paper and even just simple leaves. It was a live lesson in natural phenomena, so to say.
Tomorrow, 21st June 2020 we will be able to see another an annular solar eclipse. Timings in India – from about 10:15 a.m. till about 13:40 p.m. In Mumbai where we currently live it is expected to be around 60% eclipse, so no annular luck. Happy watching and take care.
Pictures taken on 15th Jan 2010