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Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Details about this Eclipse:

* Moon’s shadow will cover the sun & you will get to watch the ‘Ring of Fire'(Annular solar eclipse occurs when the sun and the moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the moon’s shadow is smaller than that of the visible disc of the sun. The covered sun, therefore, appears as a ‘Ring of Fire’, with its rays appearing spread out from the outline of the moon.)

* This is millennium’s longest annular solar eclipse that is between 2001 and 3000, maximum duration of the eclipse would be 11 minutes 08 seconds over the Indian Ocean.

* Last time India saw this ‘Ring of Fire’ was Nov 22, 1965, and it will not be witnessed again before June 21, 2020.

* In India, the eclipse started at around 11 a.m. and ended at around 3:15 p.m. The eclipse first seen in south of Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and then moved obliquely to Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi. It moved to Kerala and ended in Mizoram in the northeast.

The path of the moon’s shadow begun in Africa at 10.44 a.m. and passed through Chad, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, and Somalia. After leaving Africa, the path crossed the Indian Ocean.

The central path then continued into Asia through the extreme southern part of India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and China.

Update : My friend Sharanu has wonderfully written about our Solar Eclipse @ Kanyakumari Adventure on his blog post : My Romance with Sun

…”Some time ago I received a call from

a colleague. He was about to give a student a zero for his answer to a
physics question, while the student claimed a perfect score. The
instructor and the student agreed to an impartial arbiter, and I was
selected. I read the examination question:

Question: show how is it possible to determine the height of a tall building with the aid of a barometer.

The student had answered, “Take
the barometer to the top of the building, attach a long rope to it,
lower it to the street, and then bring the rope up, measuring the
length of the rope. The length of the rope is the height of the

The student really had a strong case
for full credit since he had really answered the question completely
and correctly! On the other hand, if full credit were given, it could
well contribute to a high grade in his physics course and to certify
competence in physics, but the answer did not confirm this.

suggested that the student have another try. I gave the student six
minutes to answer the question with the warning that the answer should
show some knowledge of physics. At the end of five minutes, he had not
written anything. I asked if he wished to give up, but he said he had
many answers to this problem; he was just thinking of the best one. I
excused myself for interrupting him and asked him to please go on.

In the next minute, he dashed off his answer which read: “Take
the barometer to the top of the building and lean over the edge of the
roof. Drop the barometer, timing its fall with a stopwatch. Then, using
the formula x=0.5*a*t^^2, calculate the height of the building.

this point, I asked my colleague if he would give up. He conceded, and
gave the student almost full credit. While leaving my colleague’s
office, I recalled that the student had said that he had other answers
to the problem, so I asked him what they were.

“Well,” said the student, “there
are many ways of getting the height of a tall building with the aid of
a barometer. For example, you could take the barometer out on a sunny
day and measure the height of the barometer, the length of its shadow,
and the length of the shadow of the building, and by the use of simple
proportion, determine the height of the building.

“Fine,” I said, “and others?”

“Yes,” said the student, “there
is a very basic measurement method you will like. In this method, you
take the barometer and begin to walk up the stairs. As you climb the
stairs, you mark off the length of the barometer along the wall. You
then count the number of marks, and this will give you the height of
the building in barometer units.

“A very direct method.”

“Of course. If
you want a more sophisticated method, you can tie the barometer to the
end of a string, swing it as a pendulum, and determine the value of g at the street level and at the top of the building. From the difference between the two values of g, the height of the building, in principle, can be calculated.

this same tact, you could take the barometer to the top of the
building, attach a long rope to it, lower it to just above the street,
and then swing it as a pendulum. You could then calculate the height of
the building by the period of the precession

“Finally,” he concluded, “there are many other ways of solving the problem.

Probably the best,” he said, “is
to take the barometer to the basement and knock on the superintendent’s
door. When the superintendent answers, you speak to him as follows:
‘Mr. Superintendent, here is a fine barometer. If you will tell me the
height of the building, I will give you this barometer.”

this point, I asked the student if he really did not know the
conventional answer to this question. He admitted that he did, but said
that he was fed up with high school and college instructors trying to
teach him how to think.

The student was Neils Bohr and the arbiter was Ernest Rutherford.