Cloudy skies obstruct eclipse in Chennai, parts of TN

Chennai, June 21 (PTI)Cloudy skies played spoilsport for few sky gazers who braved the blistering sun to watch the annular solar eclipse, the first for this year, on Sunday here.

The eclipse was however partial in most parts of Tamil Nadu and many enthusiasts who managed to take photos of the rare phenomenon posted them on the social networking sites.

From about 10.20 am, a fairly bright sky enabled the gazers in Chennai, Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, Coimbatore, Salem, Tirunelveli and other parts of the state to witness the celestial occurrence.

'We were able to get a clear view and could even record the celestial event till the peak of the eclipse at noon.

Later, the sky became cloudy and the eclipse could not be seen from here,' said SJosephWinston, Head, Remote Handling and Irradiation Experiments Division, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research,Kalpakkam.

As people had to remain indoors owing to the lockdown being enforced to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, he had made arrangements for live streaming of the event.

'Thevisibility of the eclipse was hampered due to clouds in most parts of Tamil Nadu.

Some people in the metro and other parts, too, who had solar filters, had attempted to see the partial eclipse from the terrace of their houses,' an official of the district science centre, said.

The obscuration of the sun by the moon during the greatest phase of the annular eclipse was nearly 34 per cent in Chennai, he said.

'From noon onwards, the clouds blocked the view and nothing much was witnessed,' Joseph said and added that he had used polymer filters to capture images from a telescope.

Down south, in Tirunelveli, an official of the District Science Centre, said the centre was opened only to observe the rare phenomenon, but members of the public were however barred from viewing at the centre due to the lockdown.

'We captured the images and uploaded them on our social networking sites,' he added.

This is the first solar eclipse of this year and it coincides with the summer solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere has the longest day.

The eclipse started by 10:22 am and ended at around 2 pm.

Temples including theLord Venkateswara temple in T Nagar here remained closed due to solar eclipse. PTI COR VGN ROH ROH