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On looking at a partially-covered disk

Posted by Ronak M Soni on January 15, 2010

A partial solar eclipse

You really want to look at this through film?

There’s a solar eclipse going on above my city, and everyone in my college is gathering round to see it, through DVDs, films, whatnot. I saw it too. It looked like… put a piece of cardboard with a round hole in front of a bulb, put a coin according to taste, cover it with canvas, and voila: a solar eclipse.Seriously, the photos look better. There is, however, something inherently scenic about a partial solar eclipse.

Except, you know, it’s not up there. It’s down here. Everyday, we in the tropics see a sun-ravaged landscape being ravaged by the sun. Any respite comes in the form of cloud-cover, which merely softens up the image.

The solar eclipse, like cloud-cover, reduces the brightness, but it never actually softens the image. It is still as sharp as bright sunlight.

That is why today was, for me, a revelatory experience. The end-result is something both softer as well as harder than what we normally get to see, summing up to something strangely ethereal, yet undeniably real.

And we all look up.

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