Scientists rush to South to study 'Ring of Fire'

Scientists rush to South  to study 'Ring of Fire'


In India, the eclipse will start around 11 am from Kerala and end around 3.15 pm at Mizoram. The ‘Ring of Fire’ will be best seen in  Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and then in Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi, where it will be visible for the longest-10 minutes and 13 seconds.

“I came to know that India is one of the best destination to watch the annular solar eclipse. I am going to Kanyakumari as it lies in the central line of the eclipse route and the ‘Ring of Fire’ will be visible quite clearly,” American astronomer Jay Pasachoff said.
Pasachoff, a professor of Astronomy at Williams College in Massachusetts (US), has travelled to India twice before in 1980 and 1995 to watch the solar eclipse. This will be the 50th solar eclipse he chases around the globe.

An annular solar eclipse occurs when the sun and the moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the moon’s shadow is smaller than the visible disc of the sun. The covered sun, therefore, appears as a ‘Ring of Fire’, with its rays appearing spread out from the outline of the moon.

The last time India saw this Ring of Fire was on November 22, 1965, and it will not be witnessed again before June 21, 2020.
The maximum duration of this year’s eclipse will be 11 minutes, 8 seconds over the Indian Ocean, thus making it the longest annular eclipse of the millennium. The next longer annular eclipse will be observed in 3043.
Kerala, although not in central line of solar eclipse, has become a hot destination for scientists and astronomers who wants to watch Bailey’s beads during the eclipse.
As the moon covers the sun during a solar eclipse, the undulations on the moon’s surface allows sunlight to shine through in some places, looking like beads. This effect is called Bailey’s beads in honour of Francis Bailey who first provided an exact explanation of the phenomenon in 1836.

“I will be travelling between Varkala and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala to capture the image of Bailey’s beads. It’s an interesting phenomenon to see and one has to be at the edge of the eclipse route to catch it. We will be taking some scientific readings and measurements for research,” N Rathnasree, director of New Delhi’s Nehru Planetarium said.
Rathnasree also plans to photograph some heritage buildings during the eclipse.

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