Archive for July 21st, 2009

Century’s longest solar eclipse gives Bihar village its day in the sun

solar eclipse gives Bihar village its day in the sun

Temporary toilets, repaired roads, uninterrupted electricity – Taregana village in Bihar is having its day in the sun thanks to a total solar eclipse on Wednesday that will be best glimpsed from its humble environs.

Overnight, it has turned into a much sought after tourist destination.8)

Taregana already has an ancient connection with astronomy, having been one of the two places used by 6th century Indian astronomer-mathematician Aryabhatta for his celestial studies.

It is believed he was the first to announce that the earth revolves around the sun after his marathon research in an observatory at Taregana.

And now hundreds of scientists, researchers and astro-tourists from across the world are expected to start arriving in the village, about 35 km from the state capital, ahead of the total solar eclipse on Wednesday.

These include scientists from US space agency NASA, Britain, Italy, Germany, France, as well as from the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research (TIFR) and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The total eclipse, starting a little after sunrise, is expected to last three minutes and 48 seconds at Taregana.

According to the NASA forecast based on satellite imagery, clouds are likely to be less over the region, offering one of the best views of the celestial phenomenon. That is the main reason why scientists are making a beeline for Taregana.

The Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation has decided to set up a special counter at Taregana to provide all possible facilities.

Besides, the Travel Corporation of India, a private tour operator, also plans customised tours to the village for watching the event.

Main arrangement for scientists, astro-tourists and others is being made atop a newly constructed referral hospital at Masaurih town, hardly a kilometre from Taregana.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is keen to make the best use of the celestial event to showcase the change in the state over the past few years and has asked the officials concerned to make arrangements for scientists and others to watch it.