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    Surya Grahan: Last ‘Solar Eclipse’ of the decade begins

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    The annular solar eclipse, the last one for the decade, began at 7:59 this morning. Often referred to as the “ring of fire”- the solar eclipse or “Surya grahan” will initially be visible as a partial eclipse and can be viewed first from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

     In India, the partial eclipse will be visible from parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra and Delhi.

    Soon after the partial eclipse, the annular solar eclipse will be visible from 9:04 am (IST). The maximum eclipse will be visible at 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.

    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.

    Partial phases of the solar eclipse will be visible from various parts of the country in varying magnitude, depending on its geographical position.

    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 will remain close and will reopen after purification rituals, going by tradition.

    Ahead of the solar eclipse, astronomers issued a set of dos and don’ts for safe viewing. Sky watchers are advised to use safe viewing equipment and proper techniques to view the celestial event as the infrared and ultraviolet rays of the Sun can cause severe retinal damage, a senior astronomer said.

    According to experts, the best way to view the solar eclipse is a pinhole camera or a telescopic projection used on a suitable surface.

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