Saturday, July 25, 2009

Solar Eclipse : A Celestial Show that Turned Day into Night

The sun spread its wings on Wednesday only to disappear again and offered a celestial show that inspired awe and fear in millions across Asia.

The total solar eclipse which occurred on July 22, 2009 was the longest maximum duration of the 21st century, since July 11, 1991, when a total eclipse lasting six minutes and 53 seconds was visible from Hawaii to South America. Solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and the earth so that the sun is partially or fully covered. As a result the sun’s bright face is replaced by the moon’s dark disk. The moon casts shadow to the sun’s light as viewed from the Earth. It may occur two up to five times a year. It is one of nature’s awe inspiring spectacles.

A partial eclipse was seen within the broad path of the Moon's penumbra, including most of Southeast Asia (all of India and China) and north-eastern Oceania. The total eclipse was visible from a narrow corridor through northern Maldives, northern India, eastern Nepal, northern Bangladesh, Bhutan, northern Philippines, the northern tip of Myanmar, central China and the Pacific Ocean, including the Ryukyu Islands, Marshall Islands and Kiribati.

The skies darkened first in India just after dawn, then a wide swath of Asia was blackened as the eclipse moved eastward over southern Japan and then off into the Pacific Ocean. The moon's shadow blotted out Taiwan and a chunk of southeastern, China as seen from space. In some areas, the eclipse lasted as long as six minutes and 39 seconds. The longest solar eclipse will not be surpassed until June 13, 2132, according to NASA .

Revelers launched fireworks and danced in Shanghai. And in India, a woman was crushed to death on the banks of the Ganges River for a glimpse, where about 2,500 people had gathered, said police spokesman Surendra Srivastava. He said it was not clear how the stampede started. as thousands crowded

“Such sights are relatively rare, since the moon's shadow is visible only during a solar eclipse,” said 24-year-old Yoshita Jain. The next opportunity to see the full shadow will come on July 11, 2010, when a total solar eclipse will cross the Cook Islands, Easter Island, and the southern tip of South America.

It was indeed quite an important event for scientific experiments. Its long duration provides an opportunity to make very complicated, complex experiments to the scientists. The eclipse is seen as a mixed blessing for millions of Indians. Those who considered it auspicious bathed in holy rivers and ponds for good fortune during the solar blackout.