Solar eclipse: Taregna to host lakhs of astro tourists

 

An astronomy researcher explains the forthcoming solar eclipse at a citizen awareness camp in Kolkata on Sunday. AFPTaregna, about 30 kms south of Bihar capital Patna, has been adjudged the best place to view the celestial phenomena by the NASA.

The village, which has a phonetic similarity with 'tare ginna', the Hindi equivalent of counting of stars, is expected to host about two lakh scientists, researchers and astro-tourists from across the globe to witness the eclipse.

The duration of the eclipse in Taregna will be 3 minutes 48 seconds. However, the maximum duration of the eclipse would be six minutes 38 seconds, as visible from the Pacific Ocean.

Divisional Commissioner Sunil Barthwal said the state government would provide the visitors with all facilities.

The scientists said they would be studying atmospheric ionization, geomagnetism, asteroids, animals and avian behavioural changes as well as impact on micro-organisms during, before and after the eclipse.

Most of the rooms in the hotels in Patna have been booked in advance by the scientists, researchers and tourists. Teams of experts from Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE), a Delhi based NGO, and NASA, are also reaching here, officials said.

The Patna planetarium is receiving heavy rush of enthusiasts interested in buying special spectacles at Rs 20 per piece as people don't want to miss the opportunity.

Tour operators have made special arrangements to cash in on this occasion and have already received a overwhelming response.

Travel agency Cox and Kings said a group of both amateur astronomers and others have booked a Boeing-737 for the two-hour journey from Delhi to Gaya in Bihar, specially to watch the solar eclipse which will begin at 5.30 am and last for about two hours.

However, scientists were keeping their fingers crossed that weather does not play a spoilsport.

It is believed that Aryabhata set up a camp in Taregna to watch the celestial bodies. The first Indian satellite, launched on April 19, 1975, from erstwhile Soviet Union, was named after the great astronomer.

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