Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Solar Eclipse 2009

Here is a visual journey of the total solar eclipse in New Delhi.

The Nehruplanetarium at Teenmurti was surrounded by parked cars in hundreds well before 6 AM on 22nd July 2009. The Sun is about to rise and the video camera of an enthusiast or of some TV channel is hoping to catch it first!

Young and old alike are waiting for the solar spectacle to unfold.

At 6.40 AM this is how the sun looked to the naked eye.

But the screen put up on Teen Murti lawns showed a different picture!

The secret was to cut out all other light by looking through the unexposed portion of an X-ray film. Some school girls were seen distributing the X-ray films to those who wanted them. Many were also looking through the X-ray film spectacles sold for the purpose. I decided to put an X-ray film in front of the view finder of my digital camera. Here is what I saw.
At 6.44 AM on 22nd July 2009

At 7.19 AM on 22nd July 2009

That was truly a "once in a life-time" experience!

1 comment:

S.Ananthanarayanan said...

Thanks for the fantastic pictures. It is as good as being there.
But one clarification - the exposed Xray film is used not to cut off 'other light', but to filter UV light. Welding glass is a metallic filter, which is opaque to UV and exposed film is a thin layer of silver particles, a metallic filter.
A para about this, attached (and below), would explain why the film is used. Hence, on you digital camera, where you do not see the direct image, you really did not need the exposed photo film.

"A peculiar thing about the sun is that its halo or corona (crown) emits more ultra-violet light than the visible mass of the sun. Thus, during a total solar eclipse, when the sun’s disc is covered, people tend to stare at the fantastic sight and often lose the capacity ever to see again. This is because, while the bright disc, which we can hardly see for an instant, is covered, the halo is not and it is invisible. But it emits in the deadly ultra violet and can sear the unprotected retina in seconds."