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A great celestial event

Scientists, students and nature enthusiasts gathered in open spaces in parts of India on 22nd July 2009 to watch the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century, although heavy cloud cover and overnight rains threatened to spoil the party. Earlier, NASA had declared that Taregna would the best place to watch the celestial event.

The eclipse began at about 5.30 a.m. and was seen first in the eastern city of Gauhati, where the moon covered a slice of the sun to start the hour-long phenomenon that will culminate in the total eclipse.

The eclipse was seen for 3 minutes and 48 seconds in the Indian village of Taregna. Thousands of scientists, nature enthusiasts and students gathered in Taregna but when dawn broke the sun was not visible because of thick clouds.

Total eclipses are caused when the moon moves directly between the sun and the Earth, covering it completely to cast a shadow on Earth. Wednesday’s was the longest since July 11, 1991, when a total eclipse lasting six minutes and 53 seconds was visible from Hawaii to South America. There will not be a longer eclipse until 2132.

Here are some of outstanding photos shot during this celestial event.

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