With the clock striking 11.30 pm, space aficionados were hooked to their telescopes, scanning the star-lit sky for a glimpse of the extraordinary celestial event - the darkest lunar eclipse of the century on Wednesday night. And two girls during the event consumed food to break an age-old taboo.
While students, amateur astronauts, scientific officers and other people gathered to witness the event at Space Foundation in Janak Puri in the capital, Asmi, 7, and Chavi, 10, consumed food at midnight to break the superstition against eating during an eclipse.
NGO Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE) had planned a special viewing of the eclipse at their centre in Janakpuri in west Delhi.
It launched 'Chand ka Langar - Feast in the Shadow of the Eclipse' - a mass movement to break the myth about fasting and not having food during eclipse.
"The distribution of food during eclipse is a strong statement which will echo in the minds of people," said Space Foundation CMD Sachin Bahmba.
He added "In the era of space age when the whole world is facing new challenges it will be ironical that Indians are caught in the fist of age-old myth and misconception. The time has come that we should scientifically break away our superstition."
With a duration of 100 minutes, the eclipse began at around 11.30 p.m. and continued till early Thursday. It was one of the longest eclipses by astronomy institutions.
Two total lunar eclipses were forecast for 2011, the second occurrence is slated for Dec 10.
The eclipse will be completely visible over Africa and Central Asia, rising over South America, West Africa and Europe, and setting over East Asia, and Australia.
Earlier this year, two solar eclipses have also occurred but they were not visible in India.