North east region saw more of solar eclipse

August 1st, 2008 - 8:38 pm ICT by IANS  

By V.N. Balakrishnan
Ahmedabad, Aug 1 (IANS) While most of India got to see only part of the sun covered by the moon during the solar eclipse Friday, astronomy enthusiasts in the north east were able to see a larger portion of the sun’s disc eclipsed during the rare celestial event. The total solar eclipse was visible from northern Canada, middle of Russia and parts of China, according to Physical Research Laboratory scientist N.M. Ashok.

The Russians got to view the rare total solar eclipse, which passed just west of Siberia. The sun vanished for two minutes and 20 seconds at 5.45 p.m. local time (1045 GMT) in Russia.

Indians had to be satisfied with a partial solar eclipse. The magnitude of the eclipse, which refers to the fractional area of the eclipsed part of the sun, was highest in Itanagar and lowest in Kanyakumari.

In northern India, the eclipse began at 4.03 p.m. and ended at 5.56 p.m. In Ahmedabad, it began at 4.16 p.m., had its greatest phase at 5.11 p.m. and ended at 6.01 p.m.

The solar eclipse would be followed by another celestial event after 15 days - a partial lunar eclipse on the night of Aug 16.

In Hindu mythology, a solar eclipse symbolises the demon Rahu eating up the sun. Indian mythology tells of Rahu deceiving the gods and being beheaded as punishment for his transgression. Rahu’s head was thought to come back every few years to devour the sun god. Believers look at the solar eclipse as dangerous, and say the danger from the eclipse passes only when the sun emerges from Rahu’s head.

The partial lunar eclipse will be visible from all over India. The partial phase will begin after midnight on Aug 16 at 1.06 a.m. with the middle phase at 2.40 a.m. and end at 4.15 a.m.

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