Wednesday, July 15, 2009

All roads lead to Taregna

Madhuri Kumar of Times of India Writes

PATNA: A large number of astrophysicists, solar scientists and astronomers from different parts of the country and abroad will descend on Bihar's

capital town by Thursday to view the longest total solar eclipse of this century from Taregna, 35 km from Patna, on July 22. Taregna, it may be mentioned here, is the eclipse intercepting point. Patna's Indira Gandhi Planetarium has joined hands with a Delhi-based NGP, SPACE, to facilitate the visit of the scientists to Taregna. "We have been informed by SPACE that NASA's solar scientist Sandeep Das Gupta and his wife Ratnashri, who is director of the Nehru Planetarium, as well as scholars from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR)-Mumbai are among those coming to Patna," planetarium director Amitabh Ghosh said on Tuesday. Besides, India-fame astronomer Amitabh Pandey and two technical experts Sarib and Sanjeev will be accompanying chief minister Nitish Kumar to Taregna, said Ghosh. A research team will also converge on the planetarium during the eclipse hour. The researchers and scientists will start their rehearsals and experiments from July 16. Meanwhile, Bihar Gyan-Vigyan Samiti is organizing a mass-viewing programme at the Gandhi Maidan in Patna. Sources in the district administration said most of the hotels and guest houses are packed to their capacity as eclipse viewers have made bookings in advance. People can even enjoy live telecast of the entire eclipse as DDK- Bhopal, Patna and Dibrugarh will jointly telecast it. "A solar eclipse is an amazing thing. But one must observe it carefully as severe eye damage can result if the sun is viewed improperly during the eclipse," Ghosh said and added another eclipse of this duration can be viewed only in the year 2132. He also enumerated a few do's and don'ts for those wishing to view the eclipse (see box). DO's * Place the filter at the opening of optical instruments * Use filters to look at the sun * Protect filters from scratches and dust * Filter's mount should fit the aperture of optical instrument * Procure filters from reliable sources * Store filters properly Don'ts * Never use coloured photographic films or black and white films without silver coating to view the sun * Never use CDs, floppy disc, X-rays films, negative for the purpose * Never look at the reflection of sun on water * Never use the filter at eyepiece * Never use sunglasses * Don't stare at the sun for more than 15 sec * Never use a scratched filter or a filter with even a pinhole