Pounding stick to estimate eclipse hours

A pestle (pounding stick) in a water-filled copper vessel at Mugulkhod in Raibag taluk, Belagavi district. As per the belief, the pestle will stand intact through the eclipse hours and fall off on its own after the eclipse.

People in Belagavi and Bagalkot districts followed a unique method on Thursday to estimate the duration of an annular solar eclipse. Using the traditional pestle or Onake (pounding stick) people in Ramadurg, Raibagh of Belagavi district and Jamakhandi in Bagalkot district observed the eclipse.

A pestel was made to stand vertical in a bronze or copper plate filled with water. As per the belief, the pestel will remain intact all through the eclipse hours and fall-off on its own after the completion of the eclipse. "Previously there was no means to calculate the duration of the eclipse and our forefathers had devised this method. We have been following it since then," explained Kasappa Beelagi, a resident of Jamakhandi.

 However, experts and science educators clarified that it has no scientific validity. Pramod G Galagali, Director of Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium said, "The pestel can be made to stand on any flat platform. Further, there is no scientific evidence or theory to justify that it will fall after eclipse hours."


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