A Turned Page in the Astronomical Calendar


June 21, 2020, was not just another ordinary day for the Astronomical Society of the University of Colombo.  It was a day that the moon obstructed the direct view of the Sun from the Earth. In other words, it was the day that a solar eclipse occurred.

It was a day with big plans for the Astronomical Society. Many challenges filled this day. The Astronomical Society of the University of Colombo was always keen on sharing the knowledge of astronomical events with the public. Yet, with the ongoing pandemic, it was impossible to conduct a solar observation camp.  Under the guidance of Professor Chandana Jayaratne, the official media unit of the Faculty of Science gave the solar eclipse visible to Colombo, Sri Lanka live.

Professor Chandana Jayaratne live at the University premises

Clearing of the Gloomy Skies

The members of the Astronomical Society and FOS Media gathered at the university premises with enthusiastic mindsets on the 21st morning. All were ready for the big day. Suddenly it was drizzling. The sky was gloomy, startling all crew members. But, they were lucky enough to get a clear view of the sun by 10 am. It was just in time for the solar eclipse to take place.

The moon started its journey of obstructing the view of the sun from Earth at 10:29 am (GMT+5:30). The peak of this annular eclipse was visible as a partial eclipse to Colombo at 11:51 am (GMT+5:30). After a journey of 2 hours and 50 minutes by the moon across the sun’s view, the partial solar eclipse ended at 1:19 pm (GMT+5:30). The magnitude of the solar eclipse was reported to be 0.275. This extravagant astronomical phenomenon was observed and reported in real-time by the members of the astronomical society together with the crew members of FOS Media.

Members of the Astronomical society of the University of Colombo

Members of FOS Media broadcast this astronomical event

It is a well-known fact that we shouldn’t observe the direct sun from our naked eyes. This applies even during a solar eclipse. Therefore, eye-protective filters were used at all times to observe the eclipse. One of the most powerful telescopes in possession of the Astronomical society was used to observe and report the status of the partial solar eclipse.

Likewise, the Astronomical Society of the University of Colombo in collaboration with FOS Media concluded their big day with the utmost pleasure and satisfaction of a project successfully completed.

Image courtesies:

01. Featured image: https://bit.ly/2Nxrz37

02. Image 1: https://bit.ly/3fLEhqJ

03. Image 2: https://bit.ly/2Cpzxc0

04. Image 3: https://bit.ly/3fFkutc

05. Image 4: https://bit.ly/2YlnftQ

06. Image 5: https://bit.ly/37PW9yd

07. Image 6: https://bit.ly/3evLLOI

Article by: Limini Fonseka

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