Overcast conditions play a spoilsport for sky gazers

Lucknow, Jun 21 (PTI) Overcast conditions here on Sunday proved a dampener for sky gazers keen on having a glimpse of an annular solar eclipse which coincided with the summer solstice, the longest day in the northern hemisphere.

Arrangements were made at Indira Gandhi Planetarium here to view the solar eclipse while adhering to physical distancing norms in view of the COVID-19 outbreak, a senior official at the facility said.

The annular solar eclipse occurs when the sun, moon and the earth come in a straight line. During the celestial phenomenon, the sun appears to be a ring of fire. 'The annular solar eclipse started in Lucknow around 9.27 am and continued till 2.02 pm. Because of the cloud cover, it was only around 1 pm that the eclipse was visible. At the planetarium, barely 100-150 people saw it,' Anil Yadav, state project co-ordinator at the planetarium said.

He said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people were not invited to view the eclipse.

'And those who viewed it strictly followed the social distancing norms,' Yadav said.

He also said the next solar eclipse will be visible in Lucknow in 2034.

The next solar eclipse in India will be in 2031, Yadav added.

'The 2034 solar eclipse will be complete while the 2031 one will be partial,' Yadav said.

Reports of people witnessing the solar eclipse poured in from Sonbhadra, Ballia and other cities of the state.

Meanwhile, Allahabad-based astrologer Ashutosh Varshney said, 'Astrologically, this solar eclipse will mark the onset of the decline of the COVID-19 graph.' PTI NAV RDK RDK