Nepali Times Asian Paints
Nation
Up close and personal with the eclipse



Next week's total eclipse of the sun is being touted by astronomers as the event of the century, the longest total eclipse. And we in Nepal have a ringside view of it as the umbra races across from Janakpur to Ilam on the morning of 22 July.

The rest of the country will witness a partial eclipse, ranging from 96 in Kathmandu to 75 per cent in western Nepal. In Kathmandu where the eclipse will start at 5.45AM, reaching its climax at 6.42AM and ending at 7.45AM. In Pokhara the eclipse will first appear at 5.46AM, end at 7.44AM, and reach it maximum extent, obscuring 93 per cent of the sun, at 6.42AM .

The only problem, of course is that we are in the middle of the monsoon and mornings are usually overcast, but even under the clouds there will be total darkness for nearly four minutes.

But if you want to get even more up close and personal, you can fly above the clouds and 'chase' the eclipse. Buddha Air is "pre-poning" it's daily mountain flight to 6AM on Wednesday to take passengers above the clouds to see Mt Everest in the darkness, silohouetted over partial sunlight over the Tibetan plateau.

"Because it is such a unique cosmic event, we have decided to bring forward our regular mountain flight by an hour to be able to combine the eclipse with Everest," says Rupesh Joshi of Buddha Air, which plans to have at least four of its Beechcraft 1900D planes up in the air to meet the demand from tourists.

Buddha has also got permission from the civil aviation authorities to fly at 30,000 ft, instead of the normal mountain flight altitude of 22,000 ft. "We want to make sure that we are above the clouds," says Joshi. Those who can't afford the Rs 7,000 ticket for the one-hour flight will just have to cross their fingers that the clouds will part at the time of the eclipse. Going up to a mountain-top like Pulchoki or Sarangkot may not help since monsoon cloud cover is even thicker there.

ECLIPSE VIEWING DO'S AND DON'TS
* Don't ever view the sun directly, even during a partial eclipse
* Use certified glasses or fliters
* Don't use sunglasses, photographic films, slides, x-rays or any other dark lensed device
* Prolonged viewing is dangerous

Buddha Air, 5542494
buddhaair(at)budhaair.com

READ ALSO:
Darkness after sunrise - FROM ISSUE #458 (03 JULY 2009 - 09 JULY 2009)

http://www.eclipse.org.uk/eclipse/0412009/



LATEST ISSUE
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(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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