The annular solar eclipse on June 21 will be the last eclipse to be seen from India until October 25, 2022.
Professor Arvind Paranjpye, director of Nehru Planetarium, said Bhuj will be the first city in India from where the beginning of the eclipse will be visible at 9.58 am. The eclipse will end four hours later at 2.29 pm, at which point it will be visible in Dibrugarh.
The annular phase of the eclipse will be first seen over Ghersana at the western boundary of India at 11.50 a.m. It will last for 30 seconds. Kurukshetra, at least 155 km north of Delhi, will have the best view of the eclipse at this point. It will also be visible from Dehradun. The Kalanka peak in Uttarakhand will be the last major landmark from where the annular phase of the eclipse will be visible at 12.10 pm, lasting for 28 seconds.
Residents of Mumbai will be able to see a partial solar eclipse. According to Paranjpye, the Moon will start blocking the Sun’s upper side as seen from Mumbai and the maximum eclipse will take place at 11.37 am.
The annular eclipse of the Sun is a special case of the total solar eclipse in which the Moon does not cover the Sun completely. On a narrow track over the Earth, people can see the Moon passing over the Sun and for a short period of time, one can see a ‘ring of fire’ in the sky. Over a large landmass, north and south of this track, people will be able to observe a partial solar eclipse.
How to safely see the eclipse
Looking at the Sun directly can cause permanent damage to the retina. According to Paranjpye, there are some safe methods to observe the Sun.
These goggles filter sunlight for safe viewing. The Public Outreach and Education Committee of Astronomical Society of India and other astronomical institutions/planetariums have been making special arrangements to provide such goggles to the public but it might not be possible during the lockdown period.
Arc welders in fabrication shops use dark filters to protect their eyes. Such welder’s filters can be used to see the Sun directly.
Make a pinhole in a card sheet and hold it under the Sun. At some distance keep a screen of white paper. Image of the sun can be seen on this sheet. The size of the image can be increased by increasing the distance between the card sheet with pinhole and the screen. One can also try looking under the tree. Small gaps between the leaves act as pinholes.
Sun imaging with optical instruments
The sun can be imaged on a sheet of white paper using a pair of binoculars or a telescope. Using this method, one can also see some sunspots if there are any on the sun.