The event organised by the Amateur Astrologers’ Association of the district drew a fair crowd comprising children as well as grown ups, who had come with tinted glasses and specially made filters to watch the rare phenomenon. The Association had set up a telescope with a projection of the eclipse scene on a white sheet for safer viewing of the public.
Speaking on the occasion, Faculty of Chemistry at St Agnes College Prof Jayanth informed that looking straight at the sun is dangerous even in normal circumstances, and not just during eclipse. He explained the phenomenon to enthusiastic students.
In Udupi, hundreds of people had assembled at the Poorna Prajna College Amateur Astronomy Club where a pin hole camera was set up to watch the eclipse. HoD of Physics of Poorna Prajna College Dr A P Bhat informed Deccan Herald that only 80 per cent of the eclipse was visible in Udupi, while 100 per cent was visible only at Dhanushkodi near Rameshwaram.
“Public should come forward to witness the solar eclipse and should not deprive them of the unique opportunity out of fear and taboos. When it comes to beliefs and traditions, it is more individual choice and science has nothing to do with it,” he said.
A science student from PPC Usma was thrilled with the novel experience. “It is awesome. Everyone should be able to observe the wonder, especially students. They should be provided with the facilities of pin hole camera and glasses,” she said.
The shadow played hide and sick leaving many breathless during the peak hour. Even then, there were no major obstacles to take the pleasure off from the shadow game.
Even amidst the enthusiasm of a few, the role of religious beliefs regarding eclipses was evident in the way the streets were deserted during most of the day. Eclipse time is considered inauspicious by a large number of people. Less number of buses plied on the roads and a lot of people remained in doors due to fear. Interestingly, many schools and colleges had declared holiday on Friday. Also many temples had changed their darshana timings to help the devotees. A couple of hotels too remained closed in Mangalore.