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SPACE – Annular Solar Eclipse Report, JAN 15, 2010

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    SPACE – Annular Solar Eclipse Report, JAN 15, 2010 The Annular Solar Eclipse which gained popularity as the Millennium s longest duration eclipse and as the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 19, 2010
      SPACE – Annular Solar Eclipse Report, JAN 15, 2010

      The Annular Solar Eclipse which gained popularity as the Millennium's
      longest duration eclipse and as the 'Ring of Fire', occurred on Jan 15,
      2010. SPACE (Science Popularization Association of Communicators and
      Educators) and ECa (Eclipse Chasers Athenaeum) celebrated this with
      events around India including public eclipse watches, scientific and
      educational expeditions and a cruise to Maldives.

      Pictures of the ASE taken by SPACE teams can be seen at:


      Recordings of the webcast of the ASE provided by the SPACE team from
      Varkala is available at on USTREAM at

      Following events and projects were executed by SPACE group during the
      ASE 2010

      I. Pre-Eclipse Workshops, Delhi, 10th Jan, 2010

      Space organized an eclipse workshop for all the schools at Delhi and NCR
      on 10th Jan 2010 from 9:30am to 2 pm. This workshop was held at a nodal
      point i.e. Nehru Planetarium for the maximum accessibility of all the
      space schools. The workshop began with a power point presentation that
      included all the basic facts about the eclipse. This presentation also
      explained the circumstances especially for the annular eclipse and why
      this eclipse is longest in three millenniums. Presentation included many
      rare and beautiful pictures that made the audience really excited to
      watch the upcoming solar eclipse. It also talked about the safe methods
      to watch any solar eclipse. This was followed by a demonstration and
      hand on the safe methods to watch the eclipse. All the safe as well
      unsafe equipments were shown to the audience and the explanation for
      using them was given thoroughly to the participants. Audience also came
      to know about the Do's and Don'ts during a solar eclipse. The
      entire workshop had a continuous focus on breaking the superstitions and
      myths during an eclipse. The SPACE team could really see the eagerness
      and excitement for the upcoming solar eclipse on all the
      participants' faces at the end of the workshop.

      II. Pre-Eclipse Talk by Prof. Jay Pasachoff, 11th Jan

      SPACE and Nehru Planetarium jointly organized an interaction and talk
      with noted eclipse expert, Prof. Jay Pasachoff, field memorial professor
      of Astronomy and director of Hopkins Observatory at Nehru Planetarium on
      11th Jan, 2010. More than 170 students and 30 space club school
      coordinators attended as Prof. Pasachoff shared his eclipse experiences.
      It was very interesting interaction between the students and Prof.
      Pasachoff. He cleared their doubts about eclipses. It was indeed a great
      opportunity for students to interact with the top most authority in
      solar eclipses in the world. Electronic and print media persons were
      there to cover the event.

      III. Public Watches in Delhi/NCR for ASE, 15th Jan 2010

      SPACE teams conducted public solar eclipse watches in Delhi. A watch was
      held at Nehru Planetarium. The observations in SPACE schools in delhi
      and NCR went off well as most of the schools arranged the eclipse watch.
      Hillwoods academy, Ahalcon school, and Apeejay Pitampura and had big
      crowd of students and teachers to view the eclipse. Reports from other
      schools are awaited.

      IV. SPACE Nodal Centers (SNCs), 15th Jan 2010

      SNC's accross the nation had organised successful solar eclipse watches
      in the institutions. Deepak Sharma of SNC Meerut went to Kanyakumari to
      observe the eclipse and did outreach activities with eager public there.
      Ashutosh Tripathi of SNC Indore, joined the team of SPACE in Varkala and
      did eclipse photography. More reports from other SNC's are awaited.

      V. VARKALA, KERALA, 15th Jan 2010

      In Varkala, Kerala which is at the Northern edge of the Annular Eclipse,
      SPACE held several projects in an effort to address different aspects of
      the eclipse. These included a public watch, educational experiments with
      school children and a scientific team's attempts to capture
      Baily's Beads.

      a. Varkala - Public Watch

      A public watch was held at the scenic helipad location on a cliff
      overlooking the beach, and the public were treated to vistas of the
      eclipse over the ocean. About 800 people showed up at the helipad area
      to catch a glimpse! Science teams from SPACE led the observations and
      explained the stages as well as provided people with solar goggles.
      Shikha Chanana and Mr. Ved Prakash Bahmba explained the phenomenon and
      showed safe ways to view the eclipse to the eager crowd comprising of
      locals and foreign tourists there.

      b. Varkala - Educational Experiments

      A team of about 10 school students were led by SPACE science officer
      Tanmay Paranjpaye into performing several real time experiments during
      the eclipse. The students ranged from third graders to college students,
      and hailed from Delhi, Shimla and Hyderabad. Experiments ranged from
      measurements of temperature, humidity and ambient light variations as
      well as radio frequency measurements before during and after the
      eclipse. These experiments were instrumental in involving the school
      children in real time experimentation and data collection.

      Detailed Report

      Students performed the experiments on 14th Jan 2010 (Pre-Eclipse day),
      15th Jan 2010 (Eclipse day). Pre eclipse and Post eclipse day readings
      served as the reference to check the magnitude of variations observed.

      1. Variation of Air Temperature and Humidity.

      This experiment was performed at two altitudes by students using digital
      Hygrometer and Thermometer.

      1a. At 2m above ground (by Gautam Sharma, Hyderabad Public School):

      Pre eclipse day -

      Humidity: almost constant 58 to 59%

      Temperature: almost constant ranging from 33 to 35 degree C.

      Eclipse Day -

      Temperature : Dropped from 32 to 25.6 deg C during annularity and went
      up again to 33.4 deg C.

      Humidity: Max. 56%, During annularity 54% and Min. 48%

      1b. 10m above ground (Shashank Shekhar and Pallavi Mamgain The airforce
      school subroto park, delhi)

      Pre-Eclipse Day -

      Temperature: almost constant ranging from 30 to 32 degree C.

      Humidity: almost constant 66 to 67%

      Eclipse Day -

      Temperature: Dropped from 32 to 28.3 deg C during annularity and went up
      again to 32 deg C.

      Humidity: Max. 64%, During annularity 62 to 63% and Min. 54%

      2. Variation of Wind Speed

      2a. 2m above ground (Sidharth Raj Agarwal, Birla Vidya Niketan delhi)

      Apparatus used was a digital anemometer. Observed changes:

      Pre- Eclipse Day – Wind Speed: Max. 2.6 m/s , Min. 0.7 m/s

      Eclipse Day - Wind Speed: Max. 5.8 m/s, During Annularity 0.1 m/s and
      Min. 0.1m/s .

      2b. 10m above ground (Shashank Shekhar and Pallavi Mamgain The airforce
      school subroto park, delhi)

      Pre-Eclipse day - Wind Speed : Max. 3.6 m/s, Min. 0.3 m/s

      Eclipse Day - Wind Speed: Max. 3.3 m/s, During annularity 0.2 to 1.4 m/s
      and Min. 0.2 m/s

      3. Variation of Ambient Brightness (Praful Sharma, Alcon Public School)

      3a. 2m above the ground.

      Apparatus used was a digital Luxmeter. Observed changes:

      Pre eclipse day - Ambient Light: Max. 1839*20000 Lux , Min. 168*20000

      Eclipse Day - Ambient Light : Max. 1460*20000 Lux, During Annularity 80
      to 130*20000 Lux and Min. 80* 20000 Lux.

      The rest of the students (Chhavi, Asmi, Sharmishtha and Dhananjay )
      belonged to standard Jr KG to 3rd of Indraprastha world school, Paschim
      Vihar, Delhi. They were involved in visual observations of the eclipse
      and drawing the various phases of the eclipse.

      4. Radio Measurements

      Tushar, a member of Astronomica and a student volunteer with SPACE,
      monitored the Sun at 20 MHz with SPACEs Radio Jove receiver assembled by
      him as team member under SPACE project and Dipole antenna for three
      days, starting a day before the eclipse and ending a day after. He got
      some interesting results correlated to the large sunspot group present
      on the Sun on the eclipse day.

      Varkala - Scientific Team captured Baily's Beads

      Report from Scientific Team, Varkala, Kerala, ASE 2010, SPACE

      It certainly seems like the efforts of SPACE team in choosing Varkala,
      Kerala as the place for observing ASE 2010 paid off. While many people
      prefer to go to the centre line of the eclipse to see the perfect do-nut
      like Sun (about 10-11 minutes duration for this eclipse), SPACE chose to
      go to the near the northern grazing zone of the eclipse just 3 KM inside
      the interior limit of the graze zone where the phenomenon of Baily's
      Beads - the beautiful, rapidly changing beads of light formed as the
      lunar mountains graze past the surface of the Sun and the light from the
      photosphere shines through the lunar valleys - would be most dynamic and
      prolonged (ref: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEmono/reference/graze.html
      <http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEmono/reference/graze.html> ) while still
      giving an Annularity of 2 minutes 56 seconds (after correcting for lunar
      limb profile). The observation of Bailys Beads from the edge of the
      eclipse path also helps in accurately determining the size of the Lunar
      shadow and thereby accurately determining the diameter of the Sun
      (method: http://weblore.com/richard/Solareclipse.htm
      <http://weblore.com/richard/Solareclipse.htm> ).

      SPACE ASE 2010 Scientific Team was located at the roof of hotel Sanctum
      Spring beach resort (08° 44' 09."3 N, 76° 42' 18.0" E) near the
      Helipad, Varkala. The team comprised of Vikrant Narang, Chander Bhushan
      Devgun, Mila Mitra and Surendar Solanki. They were assisted by the
      technical team of Mani and satish.

      Here are preliminary reports of Experiments and Photography:

      1) Video Recording Baily's Beads at High Time and Pixel Resolution:
      Equipment Used: Cannon 500D DSLR at prime focus behing 10" Meade LX200

      Focal Length: 2500mm,

      Resolution: Full HD (1920px X 1080 px),

      Frame Rate: 20 Frames per second,

      Filter: Black Polymer filter from Thousand Oaks Opticals.

      Timing recording method: Beeper Sync Software and Verbal Announcement by
      Looking at GPS Screen.

      The setup successfully recorded spectacular video of beading phenomenon
      at a very high resolution. The beading can be seen in the video for over
      1m 30sec before second contact and over 1m after 3rd contact. This hi
      definition footage can be termed as the first one ever taken from India
      by group of astronomers apart from the research institutions working in
      this field.

      The feed from this was streamed live intermittently on Aaj Tak TV
      channel as an exclusive coverage.

      Two exciting possibilities are being considered to analyze the data:
      a) See how the data can be used to help the research by IOTA to measure
      the Solar Diameter

      b) Co-relate the lunar limb profile generated from beading phenomenon
      with Kaguya lunar limb profile. (method:
      <http://www.digitalsky.org.uk/3cls/3cls.html> )

      2) Photography of the Eclipse
      Equipment Used: Cannon 450D DSLR at prime focus behind 110mm dia/700mm
      fl William Optics Refractor Telescope piggy backed in 10" Meade LX200

      Filter: Black Polymer filter from Thousand Oaks Opticals.

      Software used: Images Plus

      The annularity was shot with filters on.

      Images of the eclipse have been uploaded at:


      3) Webcast

      A live webcast was shown on www.eclipsechasers.org

      1.3 mp webcam was linked to a 50mm achromat with 300mm fl and it was
      streamed live on the www.ustream.tv <http://www.ustream.tv/> In all
      106876 views were recorded on the website making it the most viewed site
      on the day of the eclipse for webcast on ustream in eclipse webcasts.
      Most of the TV channels used the webcast to shoe the eclipse from

      4) HD Video of the eclipse with a Handy Cam

      HD Video of the whole eclipse duration was shot with sony handycam
      mounted on meade lx200 10" at 1920x1080 pixels resolution. Soon the
      whole footage will be available online.

      VI. SPACE at Dhanushkodi, Tamilnadu
      SPACE C.M.D. Mr. Sachin Bahmba travelled from varkala, kerala especially
      to Dhanushkodi to meet Tamilnadu Governor Mr. Surjit Singh Barnala and
      to show him the ASE. Mr. Bahmba showed the eclipse to the Governor and
      other dignitaries. Lt. Governer of Pondicherry Mr. Iqbal singh also was
      treated to the rare phenomenon of annularity. Lot of police personnel
      and public viewed the eclipse from the 76mm telescope with special
      filters mounted for eclipse viewing.
      Jan 2010

      STEPL (SPACE Technology and Education Private Ltd.) partnered with Luis
      Cruises India to take an avid crowd of passengers aboard the luxury
      liner Aquamarine from Kochi to Maldives and back to view the Annular
      Solar Eclipse. Over 650 people were on board to enjoy the ships
      amenities as well as star parties and navigational tips. The eclipse was
      viewed from the docked point close to Male, which is along the Central
      annularity line therefore a great view of the Annular Eclipse was
      observed by about 100 people, although the clouds made only 1 min 20 sec
      of the eclipse visible. This eclipse cruise was a first time path
      breaking concept in India. This innovative feat has now placed SPACE in
      the unique position of having organized eclipse watches from Earth, sky
      and now Water. Mr Amit Verma, Preshanth J, Shubham Garg and Mrs Pooja
      Kumar were part of the SPACE team which interacted with passengers and
      showed them the eclipse.


      SPACE also partnered with the Oberoi Vessel Vrinda to take people aboard
      a motor cruise starting at Vembanad Lake and travelled along the
      backwaters of Kerala to show them the eclipse from the water. Guests
      were assisted in photographing and observing the eclipse by Mr. Nikhil
      Pawar, scientific officer.

      Jan 2010

      SPACE had set up an interaction session with Prof. Jay Pasachoff at
      Apeejay Pritampura School, where he gave the students a presentation on
      `Eclipses and experiences', and the students interacted with him
      after that via a questions and answers session. The SPACE team also shot
      a documentary footage of him covering his experiences.


      SPACE regional centres in Hyderabad, Banglore and Kolkata also organized
      public observations on the day of the eclipse to make general public
      aware of the event. Detailed reports are awaited.

      All India radio did a talk show on the eclipse on 15 january, 2010 in
      which President SPACE, C B Devgun, discussed various ways to see the
      eclipse safely.


      Pictures of the ASE taken by SPACE teams can be seen at:


      Recordings of the webcast of the ASE provided by the SPACE team from
      Varkala is available at www.ustream.tv <http://www.ustream.tv/>

      For details contact

      Mila Mitra

      Scientific Officer



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