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 Solar eclipse / সূর্য্য-গ্রহণ in Panchagarh

On July 22 the longest Solar Eclipse occurred and its line passed over Panchagarh district of Bangladesh, Astronomer from around the world gathered in Panchagarh to observe the peak moment of the Solar Eclipse. Panchagarh has been named as the Capital of the Total Solar Eclipse of 2009 in Bangladesh.

This historic astronomical event in Bangladesh was observed by millions of people all over the country with unprecedented excitement. The Center Line of this Eclipse passed over the northwestern part of Bangladesh which facilitated at least 30 million people falling under the periphery of Umbra to enjoy the beauty of its Totality. The main venue for the Observation of this Eclipse was set up at the Stadium of Panchagarh, a small town adjacent to the Center Line where about 30,000 space enthusiasts had gathered to observe this celestial spectacle. It was arranged by National Committee for the Observation of Total Solar Eclipse of 22 July which consisted Bangladesh Astronomical Society, Anusundhitsu Biggyan Chokro, National Museum of Science and Technology . The Deputy Commissioner of Panchagarh district along with his colleagues had arranged this spectacular Observational Camp.

The Stadium was nicely decorated and a number of gates were set up on the main street welcoming the space enthusiasts converging to Panchagarh to observe this Solar Eclipse.. The top floor lying at western part of the stadium was reserved for the Astronomers, TV and Newspaper Journalists and distinguished guests. Telescopes, Astro-Cameras and other instruments were set up there to photograph the Eclipse. A Multimedia Projector was set up to help the spectators to see every sequence of the Solar Eclipse over the Screen. The First Contact started at around 07.00.14 , the Second Contact at 07.56.19 , the Third Contact at 08.00.16 and Fourth Contact at 09.03.08 local time . The Maximum Totality happened at 07.58.17 local time. Duration of the Totality at Panchagarh was about 03 Minute 57 Seconds.
From the early morning, the sky was covered with thick clouds and the Astronomers we apprehending a flop in their long awaited mission. However, by 07.30 thinner gaps of clouds helped the audience to peep the Sun through it and to capture different sequences of Eclipse with interval of a few seconds. Soon after Second Contact, complete darkness submerged the area ,some birds fled away restlessly, a star was seen clearly on the sky through a narrow hole of the cloud. Thousands of people started shouting to see this unusual scene ,many of them first time in their life. Corona was seen clearly but Baily's Beads appeared a bit hazy. However , at the end of the Second Contact, there was a dazzling flash of light by an unusually spectacular Diamond Ring which created more uproar by the audience who had never seen it. Despite the interference by the clouds, the Observation of Total Solar Eclipse at Panchagarh Stadium was memorable and audience were happy and satisfied. Lots of Observational Camps were set up in different places within the area of Umbra and in some places the sky was cloudless wherefrom the Totality of the Eclipse was seen clearly with wider area of Corona .

Bangladesh emerged as an independent country in 1971. During this period, there were two Total Eclipses observed over Bangladesh. The first Total Solar Eclipse was observed on 16 February, 1980 . Its Center Line passed over the southeastern portion of Bangladesh and the duration of Totality was about 1minute 30 seconds. The second Eclipse was observed on 24 October, 1995 . Its Centre Line passed over the northern part of Bay of Bengal and it was observed from a few islands lying in southwestern corner of Bangladesh covering a duration of Totality for about 45 seconds. The Total Solar Eclipse of 22 July is a historic Eclipse in Bangladesh as there will be no Total Solar Eclipse observed from Bangladesh until 3 June, 2114 that is before 105 years. Further, this Solar Eclipse created an unprecedented interest and excitement among the people particularly among the younger generation for which hundreds of Observational Camps were set up all over the country to see this Eclipse both totally and partially. Bangladesh Astronomical Society set up their Observational Camps in Thakurgaon and Tetulia including Panchagarh to observe this Total Solar Eclipse.


Courtesy : Bangladesh Astronomical Society , Arifa Sultana, Abul Hasan




Related links:


International Year of Astronomy 2009, Bangladesh National Node

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Eclipse evokes tears then cheers in Bangladesh (AFP)
PANCHAGARH, Bangladesh — Tens of thousands of people packed into a sports stadium in northern Bangladesh Wednesday with some weeping and shaking with fear as the moon passed over the sun for a full solar eclipse. Around 100,000 people descended on the town of Panchagarh, a normally sleepy home to 30,000 people, according to district chief Banamali Bhoumik.

"People filled the stadium hours before the eclipse took place," he said. "When the sun was covered, some people cried while others were shaking in fear as the moon ate up the sun completely. "The whole stadium erupted in thunderous applause as soon as the sun emerged again." Bhoumik said thousands of devout Muslims prayed during the eclipse, believing the rare celestial event would trigger natural disasters in the impoverished country. F.R. Sarker, the head of the Bangladesh Astronomical Society, said the total eclipse lasted less than four minutes, during which time stars were visible in the sky. "There were some clouds, but they shifted so we have still seen the best solar eclipse of our time. A cold spell hit the town as soon as the total eclipse began."

New Nation

Thousands watch full solar eclipse in Panchagarh

Thousands of people from home and abroad watched the full solar eclipse that occurred today (Wednesday) and was seen across the country. But the full solar eclipse was seen from three places of the country and the places are Panchagarh, Thakurgaon and Dinajpur districts. The full solar eclipse lasted for 3-58.5 minutes in Panchagarh, in Thakurgaon 3-47 minutes and in Dinajpur it was seen for 2-32 seconds and the partial eclipse lasted for 6-58 a.m. to 9-06 a. m. the partial eclipse was sighted from across the country. In Panchagarh thousands of people from home and abroad gathered to watch the eclipse as Bangladesh Astronomical Association arranged a watch center at Panchagarh. At Tetulia tea garden another watch center was opened by Bangladesh Science and Technology Museum.

The district administration of Thakurgaon also made similar arrangements where also thousands of people gathered to watch the eclipse. The general people watched the eclipse using black spectacles as watching the eclipse with open eyes is dangerous. The scientists said the full solar eclipse will occur after 105 years later and that could be seen from southern part of Bangladesh. Our correspondents writes, all eyes were at the sky. Clouds were seen at the sky from the night on Tuesday. But there was some rains at night in Panchagarh. Light clouds were seen even in the morning, but the eclipse was seen at the clouds moved just before the full solar eclipse. The entire became dark at the time of the eclipse. The Panchagarh district administration took measures for security of the people from home and abroad.





Daily Star

Superstitions haunt many when others watch solar eclipse


Decades after landing on the moon by man, solar eclipse still remains a 'mystery' shrouded in superstitions and fear for multitudes of villagers in the northern areas. While thousands of curious people including science enthusiasts and nature lovers busied themselves availing the rare occasion of full eclipse at Panchagarh town and other places of the northern district, many others remained inside their houses, maintaining strict rituals for 'protection from evils'. Women have to remain indoors, refrain from doing any household jobs and eating or drinking during the entirety of the eclipse, said several villagers in Shalbahan, 30 kilometres from Panchagarh. “During the eclipse a pregnant woman is virtually shielded by their relatives to protect her and the unborn baby from possible harm by some unknown power. This has been practised by my grandmother and other members of the family,” said Jharna Begum, a housewife in Shalbahan.

“Pregnant women of our village were asked to stay indoors to prevent birth defects of their babies,” said Shariful Islam, a farmer in Boda upazila.

“My mother asked me not to eat or drink anything for some hours around the eclipse,” said Raju, who came to Panchagarh from Birampur in Dinajpur. As darkness gripped the area with the sun disappearing behind a round black curtain under the shadow of the moon, hundreds of people waiting at the Zilla Stadium started pointing to the eastern sky.
Despite hindrance by the clouds, a large number of people watched the eclipse. Several science enthusiasts used models of the sun, the moon and the earth to explain solar eclipse to interested people. Sounds of prayer were heard as thousands of people gathered in the Zilla Stadium and many other places of the town. The full eclipse starting from 7:56am lasted for three minutes and 58 seconds


New Nation

Millions of people view longest solar eclipse

Staff Reporter - Millions of Bangladeshis watched in awe as the longest solar eclipse of the century darkened the skies yesterday morning. About people in thousands of northwestern Panchagargh fell in shadow of the full eclipse soon after the sunrise. They witnessed the century's longest total solar eclipse amid cheers and fears as the rare astronomical event took place, according to reports reaching us from there. Residents of Dhaka saw a partial eclipse of 93 percent while the Astronomical Society set up makeshift camps equipped with telescopes at Thakurgaon and Panchagargh to facilitate the viewing. The height of the eclipse took place between 7:55am and 8am ranging between 83 percent in the south and 100 percent in northern districts while the total blackout hit northern Dinajpur and Lalmonirhat and at Panchagarh and Thakurgaon for 2-4 minutes, reports said.

An eerie calm descended as the blinding solar disc was blotted out. Just before totality, as the sky darkened, many flowers fold up and birds and animals got confused.  The temperature dropped. And then a final diamond-like flash just before total darkness set in. At this stage, only a few wisps of ephemeral light from the solar corona was visible and the 'wrong stars' appeared in the sky. It was an experience that lasted just a few minutes, but would for lifetime, eclipse watchers said. Panchagarh Stadium was packed as crowds of excited people began arriving from 5am, to watch the event, said Bangladesh Science and Technology Museum curator Sukallyan Bachhar.

"The stadium was packed full for the eclipse. We handed out about 1,000 filters for people to watch safely." "There were clouds, so we couldn't see the whole event uninterrupted. We had intermittent views as the moon first began passing in front of the sun," said Bachhar. "But we were lucky enough to get a clear view of the entire eclipse that lasts for three or more minutes", he said. The event frightened many people in nearby villages as they were not aware of the unusual astronomical incident said a resident of Panchagargh frontier town Ainun Nishat. He said, "Many of the farmers working in paddy fields screamed in fears and took shelter at home thinking it to be the doomsday as the rare celestial event was best observed from the northern districts." "The four minutes of total eclipse was largely clear though clouds shrouded the sky a little for a while for sometime . . . we could not even see anything only within a distance of 200 feet during the event," Nishat reportedly said.

The longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century, it will be unsurpassed in duration until June 13, 2132, while Bangladesh will have to wait another 105 years to see another full solar eclipse, on June 2, 2114. The eclipse was first sighted at dawn in eastern India near the town of Guahati, near Bangladesh's eastern borders with India, before moving north and east to Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan and China. After leaving mainland Asia, the path crossed Japan's Ryukyu Islands and curved southeast through the Pacific Ocean where the maximum duration of totality reached 6 min 39 seconds. Inhabitants of Narayanganj watched centuries largest solar eclipse despite cloudy weather as elsewhere in the country. People along with their family members remained glut in front of the television sets to view the solar eclipse but pregnant women were barred from watching the eclipse. Religious minded people both the Muslim and the Hindus performed rituals and prayed to Almighty Allah for the welfare of the mankind.