Solar eclipse – special session at the Birla Planetarium

Reported by Abhishek Narayanan

Last Monday, on March 19, I briskly got up from bed and read in the newspaper that it was solar eclipse day and there was a special session at the B. M. Birla Planetarium, Kotturpuram.

I asked my father if he could take me to the to see the eclipse. He agreed and in ten minutes we were at the planetarium. As soon as we got there the staff people gave us a mask to see the eclipse.

They said that the mask was the welders’ glass 14 and it would lower the power of the radiation by one lakh times.

We also saw the eclipse reflected on a white board through the telescope.
The staff told us that only 24% of the eclipse could be seen in Chennai. They added that the duration of the eclipse was from 6.04 to 7.21 a.m. It was surprising to see many children on early morning at the planetarium.

To a question as to how the small moon could obscure the big Sun, the staff answered patiently. The Sun is 400 times bigger than the moon and also 400 times father from the earth. So the Sun appears small and the shadow of the moon could obscure the Sun, which appears to be much smaller than what it is.
We were given some biscuits to enlighten us on eating during eclipse.
They also had put up an information display about the eclipse. The session was very useful.

If you missed it, mark the next occasion in your diary.
The next is a lunar eclipse. It will occur on August 28, 2007 and a similar session is arranged at B. M.  Birla Planetarium, Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre at Gandhi Mandapam Road, Kotturpuram.
Phone : 24410025 / 24416751

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