Tuesday, 17 November 2009 12:54
Yet another celestial event to be staged on the night of 17-Nov-2009 (to be precise, early morning on 18-Nov-2009 as seen from India).  It will be Leonid meteor shower a.k.a. 'Leonids'. 

Leonids always makes me nostalgic! In 1999, about 10,000 people gathered in Vangani (from where we conduct our regular overnight sky observation programs) and instead of meteors, rain poured. Next day we saw pics from other side of the world, where the peak of the meteor shower occurred, only to make us feel jealous and envious.

10 years have passed by, and Leonids now presents another nice show, not as grandeur as in 1999, but hoping that it will be pretty good. Sky conditions are at its best: New moon day + Peak expected over Asia. It rained over Indian Subcontinent last week due to Cyclone Phyan. Clouds were still floating around till yesterday afternoon. But since last night (15-Nov-2009) sky is amazingly clear. Rains have settled some dust so that adds to some good sky condition. 
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 November 2009 12:55
Annular Solar Eclipse Tour 2010
Monday, 21 September 2009 05:58

Ace Traveller , Thane is organizing an Annular Solar Eclipse Tour for the Eclipse of 15th January 2010. Khagol Mandal, Mumbai, has agreed to provide all Technical Help to Ace Traveller for this Annular Solar Eclipse. 

The booking for the tour has already started. Seats on this tour are limited and are available on first come first served basis. Even though tour is open to all, Members of Khagol Mandal can avail special discount  for the tour.

In view of all reservations (Travel and Hotels) to be done at the earliest, the booking is open upto 15th Oct. 2009 only.

Brief Tour informations :

Tour Dates : 13th to 17th January 2010 (Both inclusive)

Destination : Kanyakumari. (Limited sightseeing includes Rock Memorial & Suchindram Mandir)

Tour Cost per person : Approx Rs 3500/- per person (For details ask for brochure) 

(A/C, Non A/C Accommodations available, Technical Help and eclipse goggles are inclusive in Tour Cost)

Do avoid disappointment, contact Khagol Mandal in Sion office on any Wednesday evening 6.30 to 8.00 PM or email

manager [at] khagolmandal.org          (Replace [at] with @ while emailing). 




Last Updated on Thursday, 08 October 2009 10:45
Experiencing a Cloud Covered Solar Eclipse
Saturday, 25 July 2009 14:34

Watching a solar eclipse is unique experience. Many of us have seen solar eclipses of October 1995 and August 1999. This time we knew the rain will play spoilsport and were prepared mentally to get disappointed but at the same time enthused to feel the solar eclipse.

A crowd of around 200+ people  just like us was eager to watch the theatrix of sun and Moon from Dondaicha Village in Dhule district. Our volunteers had visited Nandurbar, Dhule, region to locate suitable place for our group to watch eclipse. We carried out pilot trips and awareness programmes in the region, which aroused curiosity of the locals.

Eclipse watchers or Raindancers
Eclipse Tour

We arrived at dondaichya on the morning of 21st July 09. No sign of sun on that day. Lot of haze and mini showers in between.  That evening we had small presentation session. People shared their past experience of total solar eclipse with others. We had custom built model to view the artificial Total solar eclipse. Every one enjoyed the model and expected to see the eclipse in ral. It was expecting for kind of miracle. Dreaming clouds drifting away and raising clouds curtain for celestial drama

22nd July 2009 : We woke up early at 3:30 am. It was raining out side. each raindrop was laughing at us indicatingthat  we had remote chance. All of us gathered to witness this rare celestial drama from railway crossover bridge near dondaichya railway station. Clock was ticking. Sunrise at dondaichya was at 6:01 am and totality was going to be at 6:21.17 am. People were excited.  Every one was facing the east but no one was sure about location of Sun. We told people to keep eye on the light intensity in sky. Photographers were ready to capture glimpse of totality. We were anticipating   for clouds curtain should diminish for five minute. But weather does not act on human wish. 

I started video shooting around 6:19 am based on un calibrated clock with IST. First minute there was gradual drop of light intensity. Since sun was covered 98% during sunrise. Moon shadow was marching fast on earth. During second minute rate of light diminishing was little bit higher. last 30 seconds before totality light drops drastically and every one was shouting with excitement. After few seconds of shouting there was haunting silence. Bird’s calls replaced with crickets singing. The Darkness we were experiencing was different than what we would experience during night. You must experience it to believe it. 

We were unable to clock the timing of third contact due to clouds. Darkness remained more than 3 minute and few seconds. I was comparing the darkness with 11th August 1999 & 24th October 1995. It was much darker than earlier encounter with Total Solar Eclipse (TSE). Might be clouds garnishing and missing majestic, mesmerizing coronal cool sparkling light were enhancing darkness. Moon was unable to block sun’s bright light more than few minutes. Moon shadow marched few steps ahead and sun lights started dominating the horizon once again. Battle of shadow was over at least for few years. This is the only battle which gives us pure joy and life time experience. Since 24th October 1995 for me, Total Solar Eclipse is kind of addiction. It will be addiction to those who encounter it. I don’t want to miss any Total Solar Eclipse in future. I will try to visit places where it will visible. It’s requires time, money, and careful planning to witness such celestial drama. 

You can also experience the Solar Eclipse 2009 by clicking here 

Next Celestial drama will unfold on 15th January 2010. actors will remain same but they will be having different story for us. It might be not having glory of Total Solar Eclipse but must be having different brilliance & splendor. It’s Annual Solar Eclipse on 15th January 2010. those who want to witness this upcoming drama. 


Last Updated on Saturday, 25 July 2009 15:00
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