Gujarat gets to see partial solar eclipse with 72% visibility

Ahmedabad, Jun 21 (PTI) Astronomy enthusiasts, sky gazers and scores of other people in Gujarat witnessed a partial solar eclipse on Sunday that lasted for over three hours.

The celestial spectacle was visible in the state from 10 am till around 1.30 pm with 72 per cent visibility, an official said.

Although overcast skies and rains played a spoilsport in a few districts like Surat and Porbandar, people in most other parts of the state managed to catch a glimpse of the eclipse using solar filters, the official said.

Maintaining social distancing and following other norms in view of COVID-19 pandemic, several enthusiasts gathered at some centres in state capital Gandhinagar and other districts to watch the phenomenon.

The Gujarat Council on Science and Technology (GUJCOST), an autonomous body under the state department of science and technology, made special arrangements for students and other enthusiasts for viewing of the solar eclipse in Gandhinagar and other cities.

'No big event was organised due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But to provide a glimpse of the eclipse, we arranged a limited programme at GUJCOST office in Gandhinagar with telescopes, pinhole cameras and solar filters for students and enthusiasts,' Narottam Sahoo, an advisor at GUJCOST, said.

Experts from ISRO and various universities were invited to speak at the event and the entire phenomenon was telecast live on the YouTube channel of GUJCOST, he said.

'A partial solar eclipse of 72 per cent was witnessed in Gujarat between 10 am and 1.30 pm. The experience was very good and despite the pandemic and prevailing weather conditions, we managed to organise the event,' he said.

Various community science centres in other districts also organised such events.

In Rajkot, a group championing the cause of rationalist thoughts organised programmes like cooking during the solar eclipse to bust the superstition that it was harmful to a person.

Effigies of superstition were also burnt.

Rationalist Jayant Pandya from Rajkot said, 'We cooked as well as consumed food during the eclipse period. We also burnt an effigy of the demon of superstition.

'We also carried out an awareness campaign to tell people that an eclipse is a purely scientific event. We believe that such an events do not affect human life.' PTI KA PD i NP NP