Moments before the total eclipse
They watched in astonishment as the night sky gobbled up the moon
for about an hour. Telescopes trained, munching on snacks, a
clutch of Indians, including many kids, witnessed the darkest
lunar eclipse of a century that ended in the wee hours of Thursday
and left them with memories of a lifetime.
The moon gazing was a feast in more ways than one - there was a
plate full of food to break a myth that causes many Indians to
avoid eating during an eclipse. A clutch of around 35 people -- an
IANS reporter included -- were at the terrace of NGO SPACE
Foundation's office in west Delhi's Janakpuri for the celestial
"This is the first time I have come to watch an eclipse. I never
thought it would turn out to be this exciting and so amazing thing
to explore," Kashish Chawla, a first year college student, told
"I am planning to go to villages over the weekends and educate
people about astronomy and myths associated with lunar eclipse,"
It was at 10.55 p.m. Wednesday that the excitement started to soar
as the first phase of the eclipse began. It was to last till 3.32
The total eclipse though was from 12.55 a.m. to 2.30 a.m.
As Bollywood songs praising the beauty of the moon played in the
background, watching in awe were many school and college students.
Before the sky captured all the attention, a satirical 'play' on
breaking myths during an eclipse was screened by the organisers,
the Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and
"I had always heard that pregnant women should never watch the
eclipse. The play helped break that belief - to some extent," said
Satviki Dua, 26, a married woman.
As the sky wore an orange tint, and the moon looked lost in a
cloud cover, the telescopes began zooming in to get a closer look
of the late night wonder.
"We are photographing each phase of the moon and our live webcast
has received over 10,000 viewers from across the world. The beauty
of astronomy has a charm of its own that attracts young minds,"
Vikrant Narang, president of Eclipse Chasers Athenaeum, told IANS.
Then the total eclipse began.
"This is the rare phase. It is the longest, and is forecast to
occur after 47 years," added Narang.
The enthusiasts looked confused and curious as they continued
their efforts to relocate the moon through the telescope. Of
course, during the total eclipse, the moon was not visible.
"We managed to get a glimpse of the eclipsed moon through the
telescope, but what leaves you awestruck is when the moon
reappears bigger and brighter," said Chawla.
The countdown to bid goodbye to the eclipse began at the crack of
"I will carry blissful and unforgettable memories for a lifetime.
This is rare, totally magical," gasped 15-year-old Akriti Arora.