It has been a subtle year for India as far as Astronomy is concerned. With extended monsoon season due to the presence of the Positive phase of
Indian Ocean Dipole and generally bad weather throughout the continent, observing the sky and in particular astronomical events had become quite a task.
Many Astronomers and Amateur stargazers had to miss the famous Perseids meteor showers which happen in August and also the Mercury Transit in November amongst many other events. The
Annular Solar Eclipse 2019 occurred at a critical juncture with the end culminating by clear skies and serene
As it was an Annular solar eclipse the Moon covered around 93.4 % of the Sun as seen from southern India, particular Ooty, TN. To dive a bit into what is an annular eclipse, we need to understand the Earth's motion around the sun.
The Earth revolves In an elliptical (oval) orbit around the sun with the Sun being at one focus of that ellipse. Building on that, if the moon comes between the earth and sun and if the apparent size of the Sun is greater than the moon, it becomes an annular eclipse. If the Sun's size is smaller than the moon, it results in total concealment of the Sun which results in much dark Total solar eclipse.
This Annular Solar eclipse was much anticipated with optimistic skepticism due to rains provident in southern India. The line of concentration or path of the eclipse passed through Northern Kerala coming down Southeast wards.
There were multiple institutions and groups that were covering the Eclipse and setting public viewing stations. One collaboration between Tata institute of fundamental research, National center for radio Astrophysics, astronomy society of India, Tamil Nadu science foundation and KhagolMandal was interesting.
This core operating out of Radio Astronomy Center, Ooty provided Eclipse observation experience to around 500 people across multiple sites in Ooty. Being a member and a volunteer of KhagolMandal (Marathi name for Space enthusiast group) which is a premier Amateur astronomy group from Mumbai was special. They have covered every eclipse since 1995.
Pinhole projection, telescope to LCD projection screens and telescopes with solar filters were set up in different areas across different cities by very many other groups as well.
Public awareness campaigns regarding myths of the eclipse, Do's and dont's and general information was quintessential for the Annular Solar Eclipse 2019 to be a giant Observational success! However, Astronomers will now gear up for one more Annular Eclipse visible in from India in June 2020. Clear skies.