The longest annular solar eclipse of the third millennium will be partially visible in Delhi on January 15 .
The next annular eclipse — one which which will be longer than this one — will occur 1,033 years later in 3043 AD.
An annular eclipse occurs when the sun and moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the moon is smaller than that of the sun, leaving what appears as a ring of fire around the sun.
India has not seen an annular eclipse since 1976, when only the extreme northeastern parts of Jammu and Kashmir saw an annular eclipse, says N. Rathnasree, Director, Nehru Planetarium.
For Delhiites, the excitement will hinge on a large fraction of the sun’s disc getting obscured during this eclipse, she added.
The partial eclipse will begin at 11.53 a.m. in the capital and end at 3.11 p.m. The best time to look at the sun would be 1.39 p.m.
Fifty-three per cent of the sun will be eclipsed in Delhi.
Many other parts of India, particularly southern and eastern regions, may not be that fortunate because the Indian Meteorological Department is predicting cloudy skies with isolated rainfall for Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal , Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
The annular path of the eclipse passes through the southern tip of India, with only a partial eclipse visible in the rest of India.
The best place in India to see the annular eclipse is Dhanuskodi in Pambam Island off Tamil Nadu coast that falls on the central line of the annular path. The clouds, however, may play spoilsport. Here, the diametre’s scale will be as high as 95 per cent.
At Delhi, the Nehru Planetarium, Amateur Astronomers Association and S.P.A.C.E. will conduct eclipse skywatch from the front lawns of the Teen Murti House, Rathnasree said.
There will be an eclipse exhibition for people to view, and webcasts of the eclipse views from elsewhere in the country, she added.
Teams from the planetarium will also be present in Thiruvananthapuram, conducting an eclipse watch for the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre central school, attempting
heritage imaging against the Padmanabhaswamy temple at Thiruvananthapuram and imaging the eclipse from Varkala.
According to IMD, considering earth as a whole , the eclipse begins at 9.35 a.m. IST when the shadow of the Moon touches the Earth at local sunrise at a point in Central Africa.