Punekars were witness to a rare celestial phenomenon yesterday, when their shadows disappeared exactly at 12.31 pm for a few moments. In this biannual zero-shadow spectacle, when the sun is exactly overhead and for a short span of time, the shadow of any vertical object will be right below the base, giving an impression that it has disappeared.
The city-based Jyotirvidya Parisanstha (JVP), which is an association of amateur astronomers, had made arrangements for enthusiasts to observe zero shadow and sunspots. While explaining these astronomical phenomena, former president of JVP Dr Prakash Tupe said that this rara avis occurs due to the northward and southward motion of the sun as seen on the horizon.
The marvel can be seen in a region that lies between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. “This can be seen twice a year. The sun will again be overhead on July 30. However, due to cloudy weather the shadows might not appear anyway. Therefore, yesterday was perhaps the last opportunity of the year to experience the zero-shadow event in the city,” said Dr Tupe.
Citizens in the northern parts of the country are less fortunate. “Usually the zero-shadow phenomenon start from Kanyakumari and then move upwards. It finishes in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh in the third week of June,” said Dr Tupe. As expected, students and youngsters were animated about the entire event.
“For the first time I saw the shadow of a glass kept on a table vanish for a second,” said Nandini Shiralkar, a class VI student of Jnana Prabodhini.