“Mujhe school mein bataya gaya tha ki chand or suraj ladne wale hai (I was told in school that the moon and sun are going to fight),” said an excited 11-year-old, Parveen Sama.
On Friday afternoon, wearing uniforms and slippers, Sama and her classmates rushed directly from their Worli Naka Municipal Urdu School to the nearby Nehru Planetarium to watch “the big fight”.
“Mast lag raha hai (It’s looks nice),” said Sama, as she watched the partial annular eclipse through the solar goggles.
Like Sama, hundreds of enthusiasts reached the planetarium to watch the sun look like a bitten-off biscuit.
The millennium’s longest annular solar eclipse started at 11.16 am and reached its ‘greatest phase’ — when the moon covered 64 per cent of the diameter of the sun — at 1.18 pm.
Of the first to reach the planetarium at 10 am were 60 students from Ecole Francais de Mumbai.
“The pattern of teaching in France is through live experiences. So we decided to organise this trip so students can see the eclipse in real time,” said teacher Matilda Britto.
In addition to placing small telescopes for individual viewing, the planetarium had a solar telescope fixed on the terrace to project an image of the eclipsed sun on a large video screen in the planetarium lobby.
At the Nehru Science Centre, telescopes were placed in the compound along with real time computer simulations to show various phases of the total annular solar eclipse, as it would occur in Kanyakumari and Rameshwaram where the sun was covered by the moon to form a ring of fire.
Prakash Nair (60), who came from Ambernath to Worli to watch the spectacle, said “I could have watched it from home too. But the experience of watching it through the telescope is a different feeling.”
Twenty-five students from the Sanskardham Vidyalaya for the Hearing Impaired, Goregaon, were amazed looking at the sun.
“Today, it looks like the moon is cooler than the hot sun,” said Anil Margoni, a Class 8 student.