The annular solar eclipse, the last one for the decade, began at around 8 am this morning and lasted till about 11.15 am. Often referred to as the “ring of fire”- the solar eclipse or “Surya grahan” was initially visible as a partial eclipse and was viewed first from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.
In India, the rare celestial spectacle was first viewed from Chervathur in Kerala. People from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were also able to see the annular solar eclipse, while the rest of the country could see a partial solar eclipse.
The annular solar eclipse was visible from 9:04 am (IST). The maximum eclipse was visible at around 10.47 am and the full eclipse will be seen at the last location at the Pacific Ocean’s Guam at 12:30 pm (IST). In India, the maximum duration of the annular solar eclipse will be just over 3 minutes.
There are three types of solar eclipse – total, partial and annular.
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, totally or partly obscuring the Sun for a viewer on Earth. An annular solar eclipse takes place when the moon’s apparent diameter is smaller than that of the Sun’s, blocking most of the Sun’s light. This causes the Sun to look like a ‘ring of fire’.
Most years have two solar eclipses and in rare cases, there can be up to seven eclipses in a year.
For the duration of the eclipse, many temples across the country like Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, Tirumala Tirupati Balaji temple in Andhra Pradesh and Meenakshi temple in Madurai was shut and will reopen after purification rituals, going by tradition.
It is said several cultures and faiths believe that during an eclipse, the sun emits radiations that are negative and temples are kept shut so as to prevent these radiations from affecting the deity.