A celestial spectacle awaits sky watchers in India this Republic Day when the Moon covers a portion of the Sun resulting in a partial solar eclipse. While north-eastern, eastern and southern India will see a partial eclipse of the sun, those in southern Africa, Antarctica, South East Asia and Australia will watch a rare annular solar eclipse.
An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon is farther from the Earth than normal in its elliptical orbit, and its apparent size is not quite sufficient to cover the Sun completely, C B Devgun, president, Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators told PTI.
Even though the Sun-Moon-Earth alignment is perfect, the Moon in its farther point 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.
The best time to watch the eclipse in India will be between 3 pm and 3.30 pm.