M A I N   N E W S

Taregana to host lakhs of astro-tourists
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, July 20
The total solar eclipse on Wednesday morning will be visible at many places right from Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh but even then a non-descript village of Bihar, Taregana (35 km south of Patna) has been chosen as the hot spot for viewing the cosmic spectacle by the tourists.

The scientists from different parts of the country and some from abroad have also chosen this place for conducting a variety of experiments.

Explaining the reasons behind selection of Taregana for viewing the biggest celestial event of this century, Vikrant Narang, scientific officer of SPACE (Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators), a Delhi-based NGO, said besides better weather conditions the most important point that went in favour of Taregana was its location.

It falls in the centre line of the axis, which is very vital for scientific explorations, he said. According to him, the eclipse would be visible at other places at lower latitudes where as in Taregana, it would be 15 degrees higher, thus offering a much better and clear view of the event.

Outside India, the eclipse would be of a much longer duration, (6.39 minutes) in Irojima (Japan) and Wuhan (China). It will be of 5.30 minutes duration in Shanghai (China). In Taregana the duration is expected to be of 3.48 minutes only. That is the reason most of the scientists have overseas have rushed to China and Japan for viewing the eclipse, Narang said.

However, around 100 scientists and amateur astronomers from different parts of the country have come to Patna for conducting their research work. The SPACE is coordinating their tour and study programme with the state administration. A couple of teams have already installed heavy equipments on the rooftop of Indira Gandhi Planetrium here and have been making dry runs for recording the event. Some other teams have chosen the Gandhi Maidan in state capital to record the eclipse.

The scientific studies and research work of the eclipse would include atmospheric ionisation, geomagnetism, asteroids, behavioural changes in animals and birds and impact on the micro-organisms before the eclipse, during the eclipse and after the eclipse.

The state administration claims to have made all preparations for the comfortable stay and research work to be carried out by the visiting scientists at Taregana and also at the state capital. The rooftop of a newly constructed Government hospital at Taregana has been converted into an observatory for the scientists and mediapersons to record the eclipse.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar along with a team of ministers and officers personally visited the spot, the 3-storied hospital building at Taregana to see the arrangements made. Nitish would be spending the night previous to the eclipse at this place. The state government has directed all the schools across the state to begin their classes at 9:30 am on Wednesday after the eclipse.

The Human Resources Development Department has been conducting seminars and special classes in schools, screening films and documentaries pertaining to the eclipse for awareness of the people about this greatest celestial event of this century.

The Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation has planned conducted tours to Taregana in its newly procured air-conditioned Volvo buses. The Corporation has offered to and fro journey and light snacks with mineral water for Rs 500 per person. The bookings are already full, said a corporation official.

The information being given to the people about the marked abnormalities during the eclipse through different media is that it will be a dark and cold morning with winds blowing. Stars and planets will be clearly visible. Animals and birds would be confused and would behave abnormally. The sun will appear like a diamond first followed by the magnificient view of Corona.



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