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Partial solar eclipse treat after R-Day celebrations

Sky gazers in southern, eastern and north-eastern parts of the country got a rare treat of a partial solar eclipse just after conclusion of the Republic Day celebrations

delhi Updated: Jan 26, 2009 20:10 IST

Sky gazers in southern, eastern and north-eastern parts of the country got a rare treat of a partial solar eclipse just after conclusion of the Republic Day celebrations on Monday.

A partial solar eclipse occurred in the afternoon when the moon passed directly between the earth and the sun.

The partial phase of the eclipse was visible in southern India, the eastern coastal belt, most of north-east, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep, while an annular eclipse was witnessed in regions south of Africa, Antarctica, South East Asia and Australia, Director of Nehru Planetarium N Rathnashree said.

Annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon is farther from the earth than normal in its elliptical orbit and hence its apparent size is not sufficient to cover the sun completely, Director of Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE) C B Devgun told PTI.

Therefore, even though the sun-moon alignment is perfect, the moon will appear slightly smaller in diameter than the sun and a thin ring of sunlight will remain visible around the dark silhouette of the moon, he said.

Perfect alignment of the sun and the moon means the apparent sizes of both the celestial bodies will be the same when viewed from earth.

The annular eclipse began at 1026 hrs and end at 1630 hrs, passing through various stages.

In country, the first city to witness the eclipse was Kanyakumari at 1408 hrs while Port Blair saw it at 1417 hrs, the last Indian territory in which the celestial phenomenon continued till 1625 hrs.