India's Himachal Pradesh is all set to arrange a mass viewing of a solar eclipse by providing solar filters to people in various districts to help people clear their misconceptions and superstitions around such celestial events.
The Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, Technology, and Environment (HIMCOSTE) is also making preparations for a limited number of people to observe the event near the state secretariate.
In the other part of the country, the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), has also planned live telecasts of the solar eclipse via Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook.
“Astronomical events such as eclipse are exceptional opportunities to excite and instruct the youth and indeed the society at large about science and to instill scientific temper", Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary of India’s Department of Science and Technology said.
The solar eclipse, which will cover 95 percent of the Sun, will start at 10:23 a.m. and last until 1:48 p.m. local time.
The observation of this celestial event matches the "end of the world" prediction according to the Mayan calendar. Per the re-imagined scenario, the world will now end on 21 June (if we go by the Julian calendar). The UK media bastion The Sun attributes this claim to scientist and Fulbright scholar Paolo Tagaloguin, who tweeted: "Following the Julian Calendar, we are technically in 2012. The number of days lost in a year due to the shift into Georgian Calendar is 11 days… For 268 years using the Georgian Calendar (1752-2020) times 11 days = 2,948 days. 2,948/365 days (per year) = 8 years".
Nevertheless, in India, celestial events such as solar and lunar eclipses are often viewed as inauspicious as per Hindu mythology. People perform rituals such as fasting to ward off the "negative energy" that they believe prevails during the eclipse.
People refrain from cooking, worshiping idols, and temples stay closed until the eclipse subsides. It is believed that one, especially pregnant women, should chant hymns and perform meditation to prevent the unborn from "evil effects" such as deformities during birth.
However, there is a scientific explanation for the occurrence of the phenomenon which states that solar eclipses occur when the Moon gets in the way of Sun's light, covering a portion of it.
The next solar eclipse visible from India will be in the next decade, on 21 May 2031, while a total solar eclipse will be seen on 20 March 2034.