Young science defies old superstition

Students eat mid-day meals in schools and view the rare celestial phenomenon

They witnessed the millennium's longest solar eclipse.

In Kolar
It was a blend of science and blind faith during the solar eclipse at Government Composite High School in Kumudenahalli of the taluk on Friday.
While villagers sacrificed a sheep to ward off “evil effects” of the celestial phenomenon, students had their meals at the “forbidden hours,” during the progress of the eclipse.

Students elsewhere remained in their houses as schools had declared holiday. However, the scene was quite different at this government school. Teachers and students had gathered in the neighbouring field to witness the eclipse.
Teachers enlightened the pupils on the movement of celestial bodies and the significance of the eclipses.  Teachers Radha, Radhamani, Aparna, B V Narasimha Murthy and headmaster H M Nagaraj had made special arrangements for the occasion. The queries of curious students were answered satisfactorily. A student sprang a surprise by terming the animal sacrifice by villagers as blind faith. The one-and-a-half hour interaction dwelt on science and blind faith in relation to the celestial phenomena.

Arrangements were made to view the eclipse with special goggles. Villagers watched the proceedings from a distance.
“This is an attempt to sow the seeds of rationality in students. We had arranged special lectures during the eclipse on last occasion. In fact more students had participated then. Since the blind faith is still prevalent, parents have not sent children to the school,” headmaster H M Nagaraj told Deccan Herald.
Meanwhile the students enjoyed their mid-day meal even as the sun was partially eclipsed. “Aren’t we alright,?” a teacher was heard saying.

At school
State Science Council Members had made elaborate arrangement at Chinmai School at PC Colony to view the rare occurrence.
Mirrors were fixed to the plastic balls which could be easily moved and the reflection was made to fall on the white paper pasted on the wall.  The members moved the mirrors as the sun moved and helped them to view the occultation. Hundreds thronged the school to witness the eclipse. Headmaster K M Narayanaswamy and teachers Dwarakanath, Narasimha-
prasad, Basavarajiaiah were present. Science writer V V S Shastri was managed the event.
A few people who were interested in observing the eclipse ventured out with the filters to witness amazing view.

In Chikkaballapur
Agastya Foundation made all the necessary arrangements to view celestial spectacle.  They provided the students Nebular goggles to view the rare event. As the eclipse was not to be seen with naked eye, they had used the projection method to bring out the image on a white screen.

Teachers kept going around the ground, inspecting whether students had worn their filter goggles before seeing the eclipse and advising them not to watch the sight for more than four seconds at a stretch.
The teachers gave out the information about different types of eclipses, recurrence of eclipses, scientific importance of these events, duration and safe viewing of an eclipse.  Children also got their doubts clarified. Some of them asked why they could not see a totally eclipsed Sun.

The elders  equally with the students excitedly peeped through the large filter screens, goggles and shared their excitement with others.
Public Instruction Department Deputy Director Chandrashekar, Sarva Sikshana Abhiyana Planning Officer Kannaiah, Lecturer Raghavendra, teachers Manjunath, M L Narasimhamurthy, Shiva Kumar, Revati, Raghunath Gowda, Chandrashekar and many others were present.

Government  School teachers in Iniminchenahalli in the taluk encouraged the students to view this rare phenomenon. They encouraged the students to come out of the house and explained the scientific reason behind the eclipse.
 Teacher Rajeev Gowda helped the students to see the  image through projection method.
 He also served the students their lunch during the sloar eclipse.
DH News Service

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