Annular Solar Eclipse – December 26, 2019
The Annular solar eclipse on 26 December 2019 offered a spectacular sight to people, particularly in those areas in Kerala and Tamil Nadu falling under the totality of the eclipse. The Breakthrough Science Society had made elaborate preparations more than a month in advance to make people aware about this celestial spectacle and help people to view the eclipse safely. Workshops explaining the science behind the eclipse, the ways to view the eclipse safely, to make simple devises like ball and mirror projector, pin hole camera etc were conducted extensively in schools, colleges and localities in several states. These awareness programs evoked a lot of enthusiasm among the students and the general public. The eclipse provided a great opportunity to take science to the common people in a big way. A booklet in English ‘Observe Annular Solar Eclipse – A Celestial Spectacle’ was published on the occasion. The All India Committee of Breakthrough Science Society made arrangements to assemble safe sun filters using imported black polymer and distributed nearly one lakh filters all over the country. A brief summary of programs held in different states follow.
The path of annularity of the eclipse passed through mainly Kerala and Tamilnadu. The weather was bright in most parts of Kerala and people witnessing the sight of the eclipsed sun with a ring of fire around it reportedly exclaimed that it was spectacular. The Kerala chapter of BSS made elaborate preparations a month in advance organizing workshops and awareness programs all over the state. A science bulletin in Malayalam was also published and widely circulated.The BSS chapter of Kerala distributed approximately 32000 sun filters. In association with leading science popularisation agencies like Kerala state Science and Technology Museum, Thiruvananthapuram(KSSTM) and Regional Science Centre and Planetarium, Kozhikode, BSS could organize grass root level observation programs. Compared to previous eclipses, the public turnout was large which points to weakened influence ofsuperstitious beliefs. Hundreds of new volunteers came forward to take up the cause of the science movement. Brief reports from different districts follow.
Thiruvananthapuram : Two workshops were organized in the Planetarium, Thiruvananthapuram for the volunteers. Many school/college students attended the workshops and came forward to take classes in other institutions. 37 classes and 3 more workshops were conducted. Manyobservation booths were set up including the observation centre in Central Stadium where more than 5000 people assembled.
Kollam: In association with the Kollam Collectorate, a big observation event was organized at Kollam beach . Prior to that, 7 workshops and 18 classes were conducted. Totally 7 observation centres were set up on the eclipse day.
Pathanamthitta: Thousands of people observed the eclipse through the sun filters distributed in the district. 12 observation centreswere organised on 26 December. One workshop and 5 classes in institutions were conducted prior to the eclipse.
Idukky: Classes were conducted in MES college Nedunkandam, Newman college Thodupuzha, Al Asar college Thodupuzha and St. Mary’s higher secondary school, Murikkasseri. One workshop for volunteers was organized and the student volunteers from Newman college conducted classes in 3 institutions. 5 observation centreswere organised.
Kottayam : Throughout out the district, eclipse observation programs were taken up. 73 observation centreswere organized. In Devamatha college Kuravilangad, along with KSSTM, and the Physics department of the college, BSS organized eclipse observation event in which more than 2500 people participated. In Galileo Science Centre, Kottayam, observation with telescope was arranged. 8 workshops and 54 classes wereconducted. The students of BCM college took 4 classes.
Alleppey: On Dec 26, observation centre was set up at Netaji CentreMuttom in Alappuzha Dist. The BSS district chapter conducted 33 awareness programmes in educational institutions and 16 programmes in libraries, residential areas clubs etc. 1400 sun filters and 396 bulletins were sold.
Ernakulam: More than 30 awareness classes were conducted in schools, colleges and residential areas in which more than 3000 people participated. On Dec 26, public viewing program was organized at Durbar hall ground in Ernakulam with telescope arrangements where more than 1500 people viewed the eclipse. Observation centres were set up at Tripunithura and Koothattukulamtownsalso.More than 2000 sun filters and a few hundred books were sold.
Trissur: Two workshops and 15 awareness classes were conducted. 2500 sun filters and 300 books were sold. On Dec 26, public viewing programs were organized in 4 places. BSS also joined hands with the Kerala State Science and Technology Museum to set up the eclipse viewing centreat Chalakudy.
Palaghat: The work in the district started with a workshop in Government Sanskrit College Pattamby, organized in association with the Regional Science Centre Kozhikode. 15 classes and 5 observation centres were organized.
Malappuram: On the eclipse day, hundreds of people assembled in Malappuram town to view the annular eclipse. Three classes were conducted in institutions.
Wayanad: Public booths were set up in different towns through which thousands of sun filters were distributed. 1 workshop, 4 classes and 6 observation centres were organised. Some of the school students who participated in the workshop conducted the awareness classes and managed the public booths.
Kozhikode: The Kerala State Science and technology Museum (KSSTM) in association with BSS organized the biggest eclipse observation centre in Kerala where the assembly was more than ten thousand. In Association with the Regional Science Centre and Planetarium Kozhikode, two workshops with participation of more than 100 and 13 awareness classes were organized prior to the eclipse. Thousands of filters were distributed.
Kannur: Thousands of people observed the eclipse through the sun filters distributed by BSS volunteers. More than 500 people assembled at the Police Maidan on the 26th December to view the eclipse. One workshop and 5 classes were organized. On the 24th and 25th of December sun filter distribution booths were set up in Kannur town.
Kasargod: One workshop was conducted at Government college Kasargod and sun filters were distributed
A major portion of the path of annularity of the eclipse passed through the central part of Tamilnadu. Wide spread awareness programs in the form of workshops, demonstrations and lectures were organised by the BSS volunteers. About 60 awareness programs were held in the state covering Chennai, Perungalathur, Madurai, Theni, Andipatti, Batlagundu, Coimbatore, Ooty, Mayiladuthurai, Thiruchengodu, Thirupur, Erode, Karur, Sivakasi, Pattukkottai and Perambalore. The BSS Tamilnadu chapter published a booklet on eclipse in Tamil. 4000 Tamil books, 1000 English books published by BSS, All India Committee and 5000 sun filters were distributed through schools and colleges in the state. BSS participated in the joint initiative of VigyanPrachar outreach programsalong with Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), Astronomical Society of India (ASI), Tamilnadu Science Forum (TNSF) and other science clubs and organisations in the state. Public viewing was organised on the day of Eclipse in residential complexes, beach, school / college grounds and market areas. The sun filters and books were distributed widely and in several places people themselves arranged public viewing in their localities. Good coverage was found in the major print media about the awareness program as well as the public viewing on the day of the eclipse. Volunteers also participated in live TV discussions and debates during the eclipse on the 26th morning.
Anadhra and Telangana
BSS Hyderabad chapter organised Solar Eclipse viewing program on Dec 26 at Necklace road People’s plaza. Dr.K.BabuRao (Retd.Chief Scientist IICT) and Mr.R.Gangadhara (Convener BSS Telangana chapter) spoke on various aspects of eclipse to the people who gathered. Hundreds of students and general public participated in the viewing program.
The Annular Solar Eclipse event In Karnataka was witnessed across 10 districts. The event was widely campaigned across state with pre-cursors such as seminars and workshops. A video was also prepared to understand the eclipse phenomena in Kannada which was uploaded on social media to spread awareness. On 26th December, public viewing programs were organized at: Bangalore( RPA Grounds Rajajinagar, Navrang Ground Rajajinagar,HMTgrounds RT Nagar,LaggereRakshasiHalla, Florence Grounds Basaveshwaranagar, Ganesha grounds Kengeri); Gulbarga ( SBR school grounds,ProudhaDevaraya PU college premises,Public garden); Dharwad (SS college); Davangere (HighSchool Grounds; Chitradurga ( Chitradurga science college,Vishwamanava residential school,RockfortHigh School,KabeeranandaAshrama school); Raichur ( 10 places); Bijapur; Mysore &Kollegala. The event was well received across the state.
As a follow up to the eclipse observation programs, a Science Fest was organized at Seshadripuram College Kengeri in association with the college on Jan 7, 2020. Prof Jayant Murthy (Senior Professor, Indian Institute of Astrophysics) inaugurated the festival.Mr G Sathish Kumar (President , BSS Karnataka) also spoke. The fest hosted science models exhibits from various schools, followed by a seminar on Space and astronomy by Prof Jayant Murthy.
The Universe Science Forum (USF) affiliated to Breakthrough Science Society organized seminars and awareness talks in Vidhyanagar High School, Republic High School and ShalinVidyalay in Ahmedabad. The USF volunteers also stuck posters at public places, libraries, colleges, schools, etc. and made awareness campaign through e-media & ‘VigyanChetna’ Gujarati e-magazine.
On the day of the eclipse the ‘Astronomy Club’ of Physics Dept. and Electronics Dept. of St. Xavier’s College, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad in association with USF organized a viewing program on the college terrace using three telescopes and sun filters. The Vadodara chapter of USF organized viewing program using telescope at Jay Ambe School. Around 1000 students and teachers joined the observation. USF members organized eclipse viewing public gatherings at various places in Ahmedabad cityand distributed sun-filters & booklet on solar eclipse, published by BSS. People, enthusiastically, observed the eclipse. Viewing programs were organized at 17 places in various districts of Gujarat state :Bhaipura, Dhiraj Housing, NarodaGIDC,Usmanpura Garden, Mithakhali, Gujarat Vidyapith Campus, Hari Om high School, Nutan School, St. Xavier’s college, Vidyanagar School, Republic High School and ShalinVidyalay (Ahmedabad); Jay Ambe School, Tarsali (Vadodara); Sanskar School (Palanpur); Mehsana city; S.S. Agrawal College (Navsari). 1200 sun filters and about 600 booklets on Annular Solar Eclipse published by Breakthrough Science Society were sold.
Wide spread awareness programs were conducted throughout the state. On the day of the eclipse viewing was organized in a number of places:
Hazaribag–SaraswatiVidyamandir, Ideal Children School, Pasai, Bakaspura, Gandhi Maidan, Matwari, OkaniandMasratu; Jamshedpur – Aambaganmaidan, Badshamaidan, Mango, Baridihbasti and Baliguma; Aditpur – Football maidan; Chaibasa–ChotaNimdih, Jagannathpur,Kamarhatu,ShishuMandir Ground and Jhinkpani; Chandil – Omega Coaching center; Bokaro – Chandrapura football ground, Kalapathar; Ranchi – Ranchi town; Gadwa – Nagar Uttari and Vishnupura; Godda – Godda town; Ghatshila – Ghatsila, Kashida, Laldih, Dahigora , Gopalpur, Panchpandav, Netajipalli, Fldungri,Kadamdih, Chandabila, Kogda (Asonboni), Haldaju (Dhalbhumghar), Colpara, Jamua, Galudih, Kitadih, Premnagar, Deoshol, Kharbanda, Dakhshinashole, Dhandoa, Purnapani, Tilamura, Karaduba, Kalapather, Mahlisole, Jagannathpur, Chandanpur, Kamarigora (Chakulia), Kendua, Bankati,Kendadih, Bandhdih, Bhalki, Pungora, Dhadkidi (Galudih), Biram, Amdangra, jhaprishol, Mosabani, barajuri, nutandih, Sundardih, Sorodabar, Ragdih, Bakra, Charchaka, Dewli, Study center, Bhalupatra, Pathargora, Hendaljuri, Saheed mess, Nababkoti, Rekhamammess,Tamokpal, Mahulia , Hathibari,Kandrapara, Latia, Galudih (4 places), Manusmuria, Belboria, Jamua, Chakri, Dongra, Banmakri, Pungora( Niche tola) and New colony Mosabani.
Awareness programs were held in several places. On Dec 26, eclipse observation centres were set up at 9 places including Bilaspur, Durg and Raipur towns.
Solar eclipse programs were organised in five districts of Madhya Pradesh –
Gwalior ,Guna , Ashoknagar, Bhopal, and Indore. Awareness workshops were organised in 4 places in Guna, 3 in Gwalior and 3 in Ashoknagar. On the 26th Dec, eclipse viewing programs were organized in 6 places in Guna , 2 in Gwalior ,4 in Ashoknagar,1 in Bhopal and 1 in Indore.
Widespread awareness programs were conducted all over the state. On the day of the eclipse, several observation camps were organised in almost all the districts of West Bengal. Along with the sun filters, in many of the camps telescopes were arranged. Exhibitions were held in several places and along with that discussions were held on the scientific aspects of eclipse. People were also given food during the eclipse. The list of observation camps in different districts were as follows:Kolkata – Deshbandhu Park, College Square, Jatin Das Park Metro Station (Hazra More), Jadavpur 8B, Bamsdroni, Sonali Park, NimtaAlipur Ground, Kestopur More, Oxford Mission Ground (Sakherbazar), KFR Ground (Behala); East Midnapore – Tamluk, Panskura, Haldia, Mahisadal, Contai, Egra, Bajkul, Mughberia, Nimtouri, Thekua, Nandigram; West Midnapore – Nekurseni, Menakapur, Jenkapur, Paikbarh, Khalina, Daudpur, GarhHaripur, Keshiyari, Kukai, Belda bus stand, chawkmukunda, Talbagicha, Malancha, ShriKrishnapur, Baradiha, Kharagpur College Ground, Pingla, Balichawk, Temathani, Basantapur, Deuli, Narayanbar, Khepal, Mohadh, Amlasuli, Keshpur, Chandrakona Town, Habibpur, Medinipur Church Ground., Jhargram – Gopiballavpur, Malancha, Gopiballavpur -II, Jhargram Town; Purhlia – Raghunathpur, Gorada High School, Bandwan, Purulia Town, Baram High School, Kenda; Birbhum – Bolpur, Siuri; Hooghly – Boinchi, Shimlagarh, Rajbalhat, Tarakeshwar, Nalikul, Chandannagar, Somrabazar, Guptipara, Behula, Dumurdaha, Khamargachi, Jirat, Khamarpara (near Khannan)
Howrah -Howrah South (state general hospital ground), Andul, Shyampur.
North 24 parganas – Kanchrapara, Habra, Gaighata, Basirhat, Duttapukur, Barasat, Swarupnagar, Badar, Nabazeeban, Aamdanga; North Dinajpur – Raygongue Town Club ground; South Dinajpur–Hili; Malda -: Malda Town (College ground), Bhootni More, Alampur, Harishchandrapur; West Burdwan – Durgapur, Asansol (Polo ground cricket stadium), Bishnu Bihar Community Hall; East Burdwan:- Kalna Raj School
Jalpaiguri – Jalpaiguri town, Dhupguri; Darjeeling – Siliguri College, North Bengal University (Shaktigarh); Coochbehar – Coochbehar Town; Alipurduar–Falakata;
South 24 Parganas – PatharpratimaAnandalalAdarshaVidyalaya, SundarbanAdarshaBidyamandir, Kakdwip, MathurapurAryaVidyapith, Kharapara High school ground, Krishnachandrapur High School, JaynagarRaktakhanpara Ground, Ghatiharaniya High School ground, Devipur H.M. Vidyapith ground, Rangabeliaghata High School, Baruipur, Diamond HarbourNungola Club ground, MukundapurBinapaniSangha ground, Madhabpur, DakshinBarasatAtheletics Club ground, MollakhaliChowrastha Bazar, Gosaba.