This is what Mumbai didn't get to see

Jun 07, 2012, 07:20 IST | Anuradha Varanasi

Stargazers from across the world looked skywards yesterday to catch the rare phenomena of Venus passing directly between the sun and Earth � a transit that won't occur again for another 105 years. However, Mumbaikars, who were keen to catch a glimpse of the rare occasion, were in for big disappointment as the gloomy clouds blocked their view of the phenomena.

Over 500 Mumbaikars had collected at Worli’s Nehru Planetarium armed with their binoculars and their glasses to catch a view of the transit, which was to occur at 5.30 am. Much to their chagrin, heavy clouds that hung around gloomily till 10.20 am, which was the deadline for this rare phenomenon, obstructed the view. “We have been here since Tuesday night as we were so excited about this event,” said, Aditya Chhatre (17), an astronomy and astrophysics student from Thane. “Four of us stayed over at the Nehru planetarium’s campus since we all live far away from here. Though we haven’t caught a glimpse of the sun yet we are hoping for the best,” he added.

Celestial beauty: Planet Venus is seen as a black dot as it transits across the Sun during the sunrise in Manhattan, New York. Pic/AFP

Despite the overcast sky, students and parents along with their children remained positive and hoped to catch a glimpse of the dot, which is Venus on the Sun’s disk. Kusalya Joshi (see pic below), a wheelchair-bound student, said, “I couldn’t spend the previous night here so my father came and dropped me off at the planetarium at 5.30 am. But I was unable to see the transit.”

However, the amazing spectacle was visible in other parts of India like Pune, Lucknow and Ahmedabad. “I had witnessed the previous Venus transit on June 8, 2004 in the afternoon while I was at work in Delhi. It was awesome,” said, Anasua Mookherjee (40) who resides in Khar. “I’ve been here since 6.30 am waiting for the skies to clear out but the chances of me and my daughters seeing this wonder this time now looks bleak as it is unexpectedly cloudy today,” she added.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Arvind Paranjpye, director of Nehru Planetarium, said, “It is a shame that the last transit of Venus in this century was not visible in Mumbai. Though monsoon season has started we were hoping for the best since yesterday wasn’t cloudy at all. However, today luck wasn’t favourable to us and Mumbaikars definitely lost out on a beautiful celestial occurrence.” 

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