GUWAHATI, June 21 - This morning, it started as an event of annular solar eclipse with the disc of the sun reduced to a fiery ring over the sky in some places of Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttarakhand. But, for the people of the northeastern region, it turned out to be a partial solar eclipse. Significantly, the solar eclipse coincided with the summer solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere has the longest day.
Across the State, people came out in significant numbers to view this celestial event, undaunted even by the incompatible weather condition at places, yet adhering to the social distancing norms. This overwhelming participation of the people was the outcome of the efforts made by the Assam Science Society and its partner organisations. These organisations are engaged in the movement to popularise science in this part of the globe.
Assam Science Society general secretary Jaideep Baruah said that training imparted to 200 volunteers of the Society had really worked in motivating the people to view the event. Most of the Society branches encouraged people to view the celestial event taking all the safety measures and obeying the social distancing norms. Despite cloud cover at places, the enthusiasm of the people was remarkable, Baruah stated.
He further informed that encouraging reports of people�s participation in the campaign to view the event, overcoming all the irrational beliefs linked with solar eclipse, have been received from places like Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Barpeta, Mirza, Boko, Tihu, North Guwahati, Mangaldai, Sipajhar, Morigaon, Khagorijan, Nagaon, Kolongpar, Rupahi, Biswanath, Bihpuria, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Dhakuwakhana, Golaghat, Jorhat, Demow, Hailakandi and Dhansiri.
In some places, people, from the children to the elderly, also took recourse to home-made projectors, besides solar filters, to view the event with much enthusiasm, Baruah said.
Curator of the Guwahati Planetarium Babul Bora meanwhile said that the partial solar eclipse was visible for over an hour and 45 minutes over the city sky, before it hid behind a thick cloud cover.
Bora said that the celestial event started over the Guwahati sky at 10.57 am, reaching its pinnacle at 12.45 pm, with 80 per cent of the disc of the sun covered by the moon by then.
Subsequently, the city sky remained gloomy for some time.
The Guwahati Planetarium, for this event, was prepared with an array of instruments and experiments. It was ready with solar filter goggles for direct viewing of the eclipse. On its premises it installed solar filter-fitted telescopes, projection system, pinhole camera, etc, to view the event.
However, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the public viewing of the eclipse from the Planetarium premises was not arranged in the usual manner, said the Planetarium Curator.