BENGALURU: Clouds and COVID-19 did not deter science enthusiasts from soaking in some eclipsed sun and viewing the phenomenon from terrace tops or even by the swimming pool. Many stepped out to take pictures as the sun was obscured partially by the moon which was at farthest from the earth, allowing only a certain percentage of eclipse.
The first solar eclipse of this year coincided with the summer solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere has the longest day. Rationalists and science enthusiasts in the State caught glimpses of the partial solar eclipse that took place between 10.12 am and 1.31pm, which peaked at 11.47 am with a 40 per cent obscuration by the moon.
About 200 members of the Breakthrough Science Society (BSS) Karnataka, those from Rajajinagar, Srirampura, Malleswaram, Horamavu in Bengaluru, and other districts, including Dharwad, Kalaburagi and Davangere viewed the astronomical phenomenon using sun filters and self-constructed pinhole cameras.
"The viewing was organised to spread awareness among people about the eclipse being yet another astronomical event and has nothing to do with superstition," Dipti B, Joint Secretary, BSS Karnataka, told TNIE. Members of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations too kept to their routine of viewing every eclipse, to also break the taboos associated with it.
"While the streets of Mangaluru were empty with people staying indoors and even temples being closed, we always keep ourselves exposed to the sun as much as possible, particularly during eclipses," said Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations president Narendra Nayak.
In 2019 too, members exposed themselves to the eclipsed sun. This year though, due to COVID-19 restrictions, they had to give that up and instead just gathered near the swimming pool at 10 am.
A few families decided to have the usual events in a closed manner, maintaining the social distancing norms. The cloudy weather did not deter them as they managed to have a glimpse of the eclipsed sun using the special viewers and also made a point of eating under the eclipsed sun.
"We have been doing this since decades to dispel the superstition that eating during an eclipse causes all sorts of diseases," said Nayak. Meanwhile, many temples stayed closed during the eclipse and authorities performed cleaning rituals after the phenomenon.
Chasing spectacle across Karnataka
Seeking to dispel superstitious beliefs surrounding eclipses, Murugha Mutt seer Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru witnessed the spectacle in Chitradurga on Sunday. He said that there is nothing wrong in watching eclipses
In Mysuru, the eclipse brought the feel of the recent pandemic Janata Curfew as a majority of roads and streets in the city wore a deserted look, with people choosing to stay indoors
Elaborate rituals were held at Sri Krishna Mutt and other temples in Udupi on account of solar eclipse
Temples of Gokarna, Idagunji and Murudeshwar remained closed during the eclipse
Across the state, hundreds of people, especially students and children, observed the spectacle that was streamed online, or using x-ray films or filter glasses, or through telescopes in science centres