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Skywatchers in India witness rare cosmic event

Skywatchers in India witness rare cosmic event
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First Published: Wed, Jul 22 2009. 03 19 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Jul 22 2009. 03 19 PM IST
Lucknow: Total solar eclipse Wednesday turned out to be a treat for skywatchers as lakhs of people witnessed the rare cosmic event across the Uttar Pradesh.
Barring a few places where cloud overcast disappointed people, the eclipse which started around 6.25 am, was visible at majority of the places and was complete in Varanasi, Chandauli and Allahabad.
“In Lucknow, the impact of eclipse was 90% and it was clearly visible,” said a scientist of the Regional Science Centre, which made special arrangements for the skywatchers.
In Varanasi and Kanpur, the occasion was celebrated with lakhs of people taking dip in the Ganga river, after the eclipse.
Similarly, devotees in large numbers took dip at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati in Allahabad and performed prayers.
In Bhopal, clouds overshadowed the wishes of several curious onlookers gathered at the crack of dawn to witness the century’s longest solar eclipse today.
The eclipse was not visible due to overcast skies at most of the places in the state.
Heavy rains and cloudy skies blocked the total solar eclipse view in Nashik also, disappointing sky gazers and experts waiting to get a glimpse of the rare celestial event.
But this did not dampen the spirits of large number of pilgrims and devotees who turned up in thousands to take holy dip in river Godavari on the occasion.
A huge crowd including astronomers and astrological experts gathered at Khandbara in North Maharashtra’s Nandurbar district this morning but failed to see the eclipse due to incessant rains and cloudy weather conditions.
However, people were glued to their television sets to watch the eclipse moments from Varanasi, Jalpaigudi, Surat and Delhi.
Assam witnessed a diamond ring as the sky darkened with the moon sliding between the sun and the earth at 6:30 am today. At Guwahati, a special observation point was set up in the Planetarium for people to witness the spectacle that will not be seen again till 13 June 2132.
Cloudy weather played a spoilsport in most parts of Gujarat dampening the spirits of the people waiting to watch the solar eclipse this morning.
In Surat the sun rose at 6:05 am and soon after sun light there was complete darkness at 6:21 am when the sun was completely covered by the moon shadow.
Though the total solar eclipse was not visible due to heavy clouds, the city was in complete darkness for about three minutes of the total eclipse.
Kolkata witnessed 91% eclipse. The sun looked like a crescent as the moon’s shadow passed between the sun and the earth for a few minutes from 6:20 am.
People gathered on rooftops and at vantage points to have a glimpse of the celestial event, though the eclipse was partially visible here.
Hundreds of people descended on the Hooghly river ghats to have a dip during the eclipse.
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First Published: Wed, Jul 22 2009. 03 19 PM IST