Cloud cover left thousands of people gathered in Taregna, touted the best place to watch the century's longest total solar eclipse, disappointed today but the momentary darkness that enveloped the town was enough to cheer the onlookers who burst into a collective applause.
This nondescript sub divisional town, 30 km from Patna, where ancient astronomer Aryabhatta (476 AD) had set up an observatory to track the movement of stars, was considered the best place to view the event and drew the most footfalls from home and abroad.
Astronomers, scientists besides the people in thousands had gathered for the early morning show, but were disappointed as they could not witness the actual eclipse because of a cloudy sky.
Though the eclipse was not seen, darkness descended for four minutes from 6:28 am and the sky watchers letting out a collective cheer.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar, who along with his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi and some ministerial colleagues had gathered to watch the eclipse from the roof of a two-storey hospital, said, "Like the light after darkness of an eclipse, the darkness over Bihar will clear soon."
He said that government had already decided to set up a university for technical education at Patna named after Aryabhatta.
On Taregna, Kumar said, "It has a glorious past. Aryabhatta had set up an observatory here to observe stars."
He announced that the area would be developed as a hub of scientific studies.
Two representatives from NASA and those from Mumbai-based NGO SPACE were present at the site.
SPACE representative Amitabh Pandey briefed those gathered on the eclipse and answered queries from the people who had gathered in fields, railway lines and rooftops.
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