Monday, June 29, 2009

Catch eclipse early in Surat or clearly in Patna

Surat and Patna are the places to be on July 22, not Mumbai, where the solar eclipse will not be total and where the weather will obstruct the view of whatever spectacle there is. Surat is where the total eclipse will begin for India; Patna is one of the best spots for witnessing it.

Mumbai is just outside the total eclipse’s path and will witness a 96 per cent partial eclipse. Besides, NASA predicts, visibility will be poor with the mean cloud cover expected to be nearly 84 per cent and sunshine just 18 per cent. The partial eclipse will arrive in Mumbai at 6.22 am, one minute after Surat, and about 10 minutes after sunrise.

“After analysing the weather pattern of the last 20 years, it seems places like Patna and Varanasi would offer good viewing prospects. With several eclipse chasers from India and across the world eyeing this event, hotels and guesthouses in places like Patna are likely to be fully booked in advance,” said Dr Piyush Pandey, director of the Nehru Planetarium in Mumbai

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