Lakhs of people in the southern states around Kanyakumari were treated to a rare celestial sight on Friday when noon turned to dusk on an otherwise bright day as the moon almost completely obscured the sun.
While people in some southern states got to see a diamond ring of fire during the millenium’s longest — 10 minutes 8 seconds — annular solar eclipse, enthusiasts, including scientists and children in other parts of the country saw a partial solar eclipse between 11.14 am and a little after 3.00 pm.
The phenomenon is called an annular (Latin for ring) solar eclipse as the sun appears like a very bright ring surrounding the outline of the moon.
The dazzling ring was seen in the south at 1.53 pm. The spectacle was visible in Asia and Africa along a 300-km band running 12,900 km across the globe.
In India, as excited people —young and old — came outdoors to see the phenomenon, which is expected to appear again after 1004 years in 3014, lakhs of people took holy dips and visited temples while many saw it as a bad omen and stayed indoors. The bustling IT hub of Bangalore turned into a ghost town overnight, providing some youngsters on motorbikes a free run of the city.
“A fantastic sight indeed. I term at as one of the best I have seen,” said Daniel Fischer, an avid eclipse chaser who has been camping in Varkala (50 km north of Thiruvananthapuram) for the past three days. (With agency inputs)