Annular solar eclipse underway, cloudy skies may play spoilsport for sky gazers in Delhi

New Delhi, Jun 21 (PTI) An annular solar eclipse, wherein the Sun appears like a ring of fire, is currently underway but cloudy skies are likely to play a spoilsport for sky gazers in the national capital.  The annular phase began at 10.19 am and will end at 2.02 pm.

The annular phase was visible on Sunday morning from some places within a narrow corridor of northern part of the country (parts of Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttarakhand). Few prominent places within this narrow annularity path are Dehradun, Kurukshetra, Chamoli, Joshimath, Sirsa, Suratgarh.

It will be seen as a partial solar eclipse from the rest part of the country.

The annular path also passes through Congo, Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Pakistan, and China.

Obscuration of the Sun by the Moon at the time of greatest phase of partial eclipse will be around 94 per cent in Delhi.

N Rathnashree, Director of Nehru Planetarium, said visibility of the eclipse is being hampered due to solar eclipse.  The next annular eclipse will be seen from South America in December 2020. Another annular eclipse will occur in 2022, but that it will be hardly visible from India, Rathnashree added.  A solar eclipse occurs on a new moon day when the Moon comes in between the Earth and the Sun and when all the three objects are aligned.  An annular solar eclipse will occur when the angular diameter of the Moon falls short of that of the Sun so that it cannot cover up the latter completely. As a result, a ring of the Sun's disk remains visible around the Moon. This gives an image of a ring of fire.

Rathnashree cautioned that eclipsed Sun should not be viewed with the naked eye, even for a very short time as it can cause permanent damage of the eyes leading to blindness even when the Moon covers most portion of the Sun.  Safe technique to observe the solar eclipse is either by using proper filter like aluminised mylar, black polymer, welding glass of shade number 14 or by making projection of the Sun's image on a white board by telescope. PTI PR KJ KJ