Cloudy skies mar solar eclipse

Indians watch a reflection of the solar eclipse at the Nehru Planetarium in New Delhi on Wednesday. AP

Tens of thousands of people across the country rose early to see the eclipse that was to begin at the earliest at 5:29 a.m. and end at 7:41 a.m. in India.

It was to have been cleary visible in places like Surat, Indore, Bhopal, Varanasi, Patna, Taregna near Patna, Daman, Darjeeling, Dibrugarh, Gangtok, Gaya, Itanagar, Ujjain and Vadodra.

A partial eclipse was to have been visible in many other towns and cities.

A total eclipse occurred when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, completely obscuring the sun. During the eclipse, totality is visible only from a narrow track on the surface of the earth.

In the event however the solar eclipse could be watched clearly only over Varanasi, where thousands gathered along the Ganges.

In Taregna, people were disappointed as cloudy skies prevented them from witnessing the celestial phenomenon. Hundreds of tourist and scientists from around the world had gathered in the Bihar village.

The eclipse was to begin at 5:29 a.m in Gaya and Patna and it was to end at 7:41 a.m. at Dibrugarh.

Thick clouds and heavy rains in Mumbai, Konkan region and most part of the Maharashtra prevented people from viewing the eclipse. Overcast skies spoiled the show in Himachal Pradesh too.

The total phase of the eclipse lasted for about 6 minutes and 44 seconds, making it the longest eclipse of the century. The next such celestial spectacle will take place in 2132.

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