July 2009, Solar Eclipse Observation
From the earth, total solar eclipse observation is one of the rare events in our solar system. I can’t remember of any personal memory of viewing any solar eclipse. Really forget about from where I’ve got the first news of this solar eclipse. This time Bangladesh is lucky enough that from Panchagarh, Complete Solar Eclipse was visible but from Dhaka It was a 93 percent visible of partial eclipse.
For professional boundary I couldn’t manage time to visit Panchagarh to observe the eclipse, but I don’t want to miss the event. Anis bhai (Anisuzzaman Russell) informed that Onosonditshu Chokro has organized an observation center in Dhaka at South Plaza of our National parliament.
I was confessed that from where I should observe this natural beauty. Finally I’ve decided to go in Parliament plaza, because it’s not just and observation of eclipse, I wanted to see how people react in this kind of natural happening. As like always I always stay with my photography group Through The Lens: Bangladesh, I posted the news in Short Notice Photowalk thread. Few of my friends replayed very quickly that they will join as well. So we have set our meeting place in the spot and time is 6.00 AM.
Preparation of Partial Solar Eclipse Observation
I was little bit tensed too about photography of the eclipse. I was confessed that what/how much is the chance of getting a damage of my camera sensor. To discuss this, I called Tushar bhai who is a very experienced photographer and also Avik da. Avik da replayed it is not a problem but I’ve to be careful but Tushar bhai replayed that It might be risky for sensor and this is a warning from my manufacturer too that I never should shot a direct sun. So, I get disappointed and planned to not shot the eclipse but I’ll go to the place and will cover the event.
As per plan, weak up at 5.30am but it was still much dark. Set the mobile alarm at 6.00am but weak up at 5.55AM. Become fresh and started for Parliament. Reaches the place by 6.20am. Before me, Jenny, Salma and Tahiti were present there and Kamal & Saif bhai called me just when I entered the place.
Before I entered, more then hundred peoples were already present there. This is what I wanted to see and wanted to capture their activity during the eclipse. Kids, school/college students, young generation in one word, visitor was present from every part of society. Camera of TV Channels, Print and electronic media was also present.
Police, RAB was present to control any unwanted situation. There was many volunteer who was controlling the spot and educating people how to observe. They were announcing the lessons & warning messages.
They did distribute some solar glass, filters to use these during observation. But there a limitation of these free filters so everyone didn’t get the filter and for that’s why there was little bit dissatisfaction among visitors. This was the only sad part of the observation event. Some young guys become angry and tried to grab the filters of others, but police did control them very well and volunteers did made a block to restrict some area from the general visitors.
The Solar Eclipse Begin
There were clouds in the sky, so we were unable to see the starting of the eclipse. Everyone waited a bit for the sun & moon to come out from the behind of clouds. Suddenly the cloud has pass and the sun come out with a partial eclipsed situation.
People started shooting it and I couldn’t stop myself. I didn’t think about the camera sensor and start shooting the sun. I tried to shot with X-ray sheet and welding glass too, but X-ray sheet gives me the good results. During shooting the eclipse with X-ray, I was photographed by some AFP photo journalist, which photo was published in Google News and Yahoo News. Thanks to my friend Kamrul who let me knew this thing.
Observers of the Solar Eclipse
During photography of the event, saw suddenly Honorable speaker of our Parliament, Mr. Advocate Abdul Hamid arrived in the spot. He saw the eclipse from the ground. He also has given a speech on LIVE TV Program. There are some superstations that people should not eat during the solar eclipse. Mr. Abdul Hamid did eat some food at eclipse time to show that there is no superstation, its just science.
Visitors were very busy with observing and photographing the partial solar eclipse. Everyone was using and sharing the filters provided by organizer and some used exposed X-ray sheet. Visitors used cell phone camera, Point & Shoot Digital Cameras and DSLR’s obviously.
When inspiration comes from inside, cell phone is enough for photography… People was not only interested to shot eclipse, but also the to shot observers and others.. ( me too :p ) Observers again… no one can stop Fight among friends to observe the unlimited beauty of nature… Photographers still fighting to increase their number.. she could be an inspiration… People was in line to observe the eclipse using the big telescope. Near at the big telescope, I found organizers maintaining some chars. Went in close and saw they was recording some data about the sun, time, temperature etc.
My time was coming to end because I had to go office after shooting. I did pack my gears and said bye to friends. They also did pack up then but yet many people was still hanging with the telescope and addas with friends.
I loved the initiative by Onosonditshu Chokro and people did a very good responds. Though it was a rear event, but visitors enjoyed it. Young school kids learned the solar eclipse practically. Hamid saheb make people aware about the superstation. Bangladesh will not see a total solar eclipse in next 105 years, but we will have partial eclipse. Moreover organizations like Onosonditshu Chokro is capable enough to arrange Moon observation, Milky way observation or sky observation type events. That will educate people about astronomy, science and let them aware about this. Beside the education and awareness, people will have some recreation too.