Skywatchers in thirteen districts of the country were able to observe yesterday's annular solar eclipse which is also called the ring of fire, the Arthur C. Clarke Institute said.
Its Senior Research Scientist Saraj Gunasekera told the Daily Mirror the solar eclipse was partially visible in Colombo, Galle, Anuradhapura, Kandy, Batticoloa, Badulla and Ratnapura districts. The full ring of fire was seen in Jaffna, Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. It lasted two minutes and 40 seconds to the maximum.
As a result of the eclipse, the moon covered 93 per cent of the sun.
"Both partial and annular phases (Penumbral and Umbra shadow) of the eclipse first touched on Sri Lanka at 8:08:44 a.m and 9.33.16 a.m respectively on Delft Island in Jaffna area. The centre line of the umbra shadow enter Sri Lanka through Analathivu Island in Jaffna, crosses the A9 road close to Murikandi, Iranamadu area and traverses along Kokuthuduwai in Welioya area," he said.
"The Astronomy Division is organising a programme to observe the solar eclipse with a more scientific purpose. We hope to observe Baily beads of the solar eclipse so that these beads can be used to estimate the diameter of the sun. To observe Baily beads the observation should be carried out at the southern limit of the eclipse," he said.
This solar eclipse was visible in countries such as Saudi Arabia, southern India and parts of Indonesia. Those in Europe, parts of Asia, Southern parts Sri Lanka and North-West Australia saw a partial eclipse.
Arrangements had been made to enable enthusiasts to observe the solar eclipse taking place at five centres countrywide. These centres were located at Anuradhapura St. Joseph’s College - Hillwood College, Kandy- Nalanda College, Colombo. Further, lecture-based observations were organised at the Kantale Central College and the Arthur C. Clarke Centre.
This group from the astronomy unit who are conducting these camps are qualified locally and internationally and are students and university members.
When the eclipse was fully visible, it was like dusk fallen. A similar solar eclipse will occur on May 21, 2031. A solar eclipse happens when the Earth is in the shadow of the moon. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)