Jan 15 solar eclispe: Kerala, TN to see gold ring

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Eclipse: Gold ring in the sky on Jan 15
New Delhi, Jan 13: India will have the rare opportunity of witnessing the millennium's longest annular solar eclipse right in the beginning of the new year 2010.

The Friday, Jan 15 solar eclipse will last for a duration of 11.8 minutes and instead of the usual diamond ring there will be a gold ring visible in the sky.

The gold ring will be visible only in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Mizoram, say media reports.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is also gearing up to study the solar eclipse and its aftereffects by launching series of rockets from its two centres between Thursday, Jan 14 and Sunday, Jan 17.

Rockets, which will be launched from Andhra Pradesh's Sriharikota and Kerala's Thumba centre, will be carrying instruments to measure the physical parameters of the upper atmosphere.

On the other hand, the scientists are hoping to bust some common myths about the eclipse so that everyone seizes this opportunity to witness the celestial brilliance.

"People have various false beliefs regarding solar eclipse. Some think that during eclipse 'bad rays' come to earth and they lock themselves up in their homes to avoid it. This is really rubbish and people should shed such superstitions," Nehru Planetarium director N Rathnashree told a news agency.

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