Coonoor is going to witness a unique astronomical phenomenon!
It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness an annular solar eclipse on the 26th of December 2019.
When one celestial body blocks out the light from another, an eclipse occurs.
When the moon blocks out the light from the sun, casting a shadow on the earth, a solar eclipse occurs and a lunar eclipse occurs when the earth blocks the light from the sun, casting a shadow on the moon.
A solar eclipse can happen only on a new moon day (or a no-moon day) since the moon is then between the earth and the sun. However, since the orbit of the moon is inclined slightly with respect to the orbit of the earth around the sun, not every no-moon day creates a solar eclipse.
You could have a full solar eclipse (when the moon exactly blocks out the entire sun), or an annular solar eclipse (also called ‘ring of fire’) or a partial solar eclipse. The fact that an exact solar eclipse happens is because of a cosmic coincidence. This is due to the fact that the sun is 400 times the diameter of the moon and the sun is almost 400 times away from the earth as the moon.
In a given place on earth, the occurrence of a full solar eclipse is rare. It may take centuries before another occurs at the same place. An annular eclipse is almost as rare.
During an annular solar eclipse, that usually lasts only a couple of minutes, it becomes progressively darker till only a ring of fire is seen. The behavior of animals and birds changes suddenly till the moon moves away from the sun. If you have seen a solar eclipse, it is certainly a sight that you will remember forever.
There is one thing that cannot be over-emphasized. It is important not to view the naked sun at any point of time with unprotected eyes. You must use good quality eclipse glasses.
In Coonoor, on the 26th of December 2019, the eclipse would start at 8:06 AM IST, attain its maximum at 9:28 IST and end at 11:09 IST. The annularity would last for around 3 minutes.
This eclipse will also be viewable in parts of Karnataka, parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
While choosing a spot to view the eclipse, make sure there is a clear unfettered view of the sun in the morning in the East.