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Century's longest solar eclipse in India,lasting for an hour and 50 minutes

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 Leave a Comment

The wait to witness a once-in-a-lifetime celestial phenomenon ends as an eclipsed sun rises over the horizon. And tens of thousands of people all over India wake up to a shaded sunrise and gather at rooftops, planetariums and parks to watch the century's longest total solar eclipse.

The total eclipse, which starts at sunrise in Surat in Gujarat, was expected to last six minutes and 44 seconds, making it the longest till 2132.

The total solar eclipse has brought Bihar's nondescript village, Taregna, into the limelight with scientists, sky gazers and tourists from across the world making a beeline to watch the celestial spectacle.

But a Maoist bandh call in Bihar put authorities in tenterhooks and threatened to dampen the spirits of the star gazers. Taregna is the worst Naxal affected place in Patna district.

The phenomenon is said to be best glimpsed from Taregna, which is suddenly boasting temporary toilets, repaired roads and uninterrupted electricity supply to cater to its many visitors from India and abroad.

"We have been waiting for days, now we want it (the solar eclipse) to happen soon," said Dhananjay Singh, a teacher in a private school who has been asking his students not to miss the event.

Delhi witnesses 85 percent of the eclipse. It begins at 5.30 a.m. and ends at 7.20 a.m, lasting for an hour and 50 minutes.

"I am really very excited about the event. I have already bought a pair of solar glasses from Nehru Planetarium and will watch the total solar eclipse Wednesday morning," said Rahul Singh, a student of Class 12.

Many people also decided to visit the Nehru Planetarium which is organising a public sky watch.
"It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I cannot miss it at any cost. I along with my wife and daughter will visit Nehru Planetarium sharp at 5.30 a.m. to see all the phases of the solar eclipse," said 65-year-old SN Mitra.

Catch the eclipse

In Surat, where it begins, the solar eclipse comes into play at 5.28 a.m. when the shadow of the Moon touches the earth at local sunrise at a point in the Arabian Sea close to the western coast of India. The eclipse ends at 10.42 a.m. when the moon's shadow finally leaves the earth at local sunset at a point in the south Pacific ocean. (Zee news)