Solar Eclipse
The Saint-They Chapel is seen in silhouette at sunset during a partial solar eclipse, as the moon passes in front of the sun, seen at the Pointe du Van, in Brittany, France, August 21, 2017.Reuters

While Hindu temples down South were closed on account of the solar eclipse, Muslims offered special namaz (prayers) in mosques on Thursday, December 26.  Parts of India including Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu witnessed a solar eclipse on Thursday, December 26. The Astronomical Society of India stated that the eclipse will be visible as a 'Ring of Fire' in few parts of southern India and partial in the rest of the country.

Temples closed 9 hours before solar eclipse

Tirupati temple
Tirupati templewikimedia commons

The famous Tirumala temple in Andhra Pradesh was closed around 11 pm on Wednesday, December 25 on the eve of the solar eclipse. The temple will re-open after the end of the solar eclipse on Thursday afternoon, December 26. 

According to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the affairs of the richest temple, the abode of Lord Venkateswara was closed nine hours before the beginning of the solar eclipse. Several rituals scheduled at the temple were also cancelled.

Other temples under TTD were also shut on the account of the celestial event. Ancient temples of Goddess Padmavati at Tiruchanoor, Lord Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy temple at Srinivasa Mangapuram and other TTD temples in and around Tirupati were closed. 

Salat-ul-Kusoof performed in Mosques

A Ugyhur Muslim worshiper prays inside the Kashgar Idgah mosque
A Ugyhur Muslim worshiper prays inside the Kashgar Idgah mosqueReuters

Muslims offered special namaz called Salat-ul-Kusoof on the occasion of solar eclipse. While the majority of men and women offered the prayers individually at homes, prayers were also offered in congregations at few mosques. Several people offered prayers at Masjid-e-Mohammedia and Masjid Islamic Centre in Hyderabad, Masjid E Khadria in Bengaluru. 

Imams who led the prayers quoted the saying of the Prophet Muhammad that solar and lunar eclipses are among numerous signs of Allah, which he uses to remind his servants so that they can return to him in repentance.

Stages of the eclipse

When the moon is on the same path between earth and sun, it will cover the centre of the sun, which will result in a ring of fire being seen. The planetarium has set up 5 telescopes to project the sun's image on to a screen so that viewers can follow all the stages of the eclipse.

"Image of the sun produced by a telescope fitted with a special filter known as HI filter will be displayed on an LCD (liquid crystal display) monitor," noted Galgali. He warned that whether the sun's disc (surface) is wholly or partially visible, viewing it with the naked eye during the event is risky as its sharp rays may damage the organ.

The institute has also set up a welder glass through which the eclipsed sun can be seen directly. A poster on the fundamentals of a solar eclipse has also been put on display to educate the public on the natural phenomenon.

"Models to explain the circumstances of an eclipse will be demonstrated and explained," added Galgali. Owing to space constraints in the open area of the planetarium in the city centre, the number of visitors will be restricted, with preference to students.

The eclipse will also be visible over Kodagu, and Mangaluru in the southern state, besides Kasargod and Palakkad in the neighbouring Kerala state.

"Rural folks at Kutta, a tiny village in Kodagu district in the southern state, will be able to witness the solar spectacle 99-100 per cent as it is located in an ideal setting at 12.94 degree latitude and 77.61 degree longitude.

"Hordes of astronomers, astrophysicists, students and astrologers have descended on Kutta to study the solar eclipse in Kayamani area of the village as it is located at the right spot for clear visibility," a district official told IANS on phone.

The districts' Vijnana Parishat (Science Club) has arranged special glasses for students to view the eclipse in an open ground. "The viewing, however, depends on the sky being clear as morning clouds may play a dampener," the official quipped.