The solar eclipse is the blocking of the light of the sun when the moon comes between the sun and the earth. The eclipse may be partial or total. The total solar eclipse is a rare cosmic phenomenon. In India such a rare phenomenon occurred on 24 October 1995 after a long gap of 420 years.
However, West Bengal and some other parts of India witnessed the total solar eclipse on that day. It was dawn as usual on Tuesday but soon dusk came tiptoeing. Life stood still for hypnotic spell for a brief period of 77 seconds. The city of Kolkata and a large area up to Diamond Harbour and some other parts of West Bengal were momentarily transformed into a make-believe world of fantasy. In Diamond Harbour, nearly 1,00,000 eclipse watchers were mesmerised by the splendour of the diamond ring, the corona. Many scientists from different parts of the country and abroad studied there various aspects of the sun during eclipse. More than 25 million people witnessed the total solar eclipse in Purulia district. Besides, about 20,000 visitors assembled at the Ajodhya hills to have a clear view of the eclipse.
The first trace of the moon’s shadow on the western side of the sun was spotted at around 7.32 a.m. Gradually the light began to dim and the sun was reduced to a silver crescent. Around 8.49 a.m. in Diamond Harbour it was almost a total eclipse—a black orb floating against the backdrop of the pearly white corona. The entire event was over by 10.17 a.m.
Before the total eclipse, sunlight kept changing its shades from lemon to grey and then returning to normal. Shadow bends were seen under trees, which acted as natural pin-hole cameras and a ripple of light and shade floated on the ground. The temperature plunged by nearly 10 degrees Fas the moon gradually swallowed the ball of fire. The birds flew in haste to their nests apparently mistaking the sudden darkness for an approaching dusk. The partial phase started again. At 10.17 a.m. the sun freed itself completely from the moon’s grip. The total solar eclipse was a most exciting cosmic drama and those who witnessed it are fortunate enough. We will never see such an event in our life.