EclipseWatch asks people to record responses of pets to the Eclipse

The solar eclipse on January 15th will have the longest annular duration for any eclipse until the year 3043, and the volunteers have been asked by the National Centre for Biological to report responses of animals to it.

People all over India have been urged by EclipseWatch, a citizen science project, to observe animals during the solar eclipse on Friday, 15th January, and share their findings to a website set up for the purpose (www. eclipsewatch. in).

As per a press release, solar eclipses apart from being a stunning process, also gives rise to curious behaviors in animals.

Many parts of the world including Africa, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia will see a total solar eclipse on 15th January 2010. The eclipse will be nearly complete (96 per cent) in India, in parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu; while in the other parts of the country, it will visible in varying degrees. Apart from this, the eclipse's duration and timing will also differ across India. The press release informed that next solar eclipse in India will occur in 2034 and tomorrow's eclipse will be the longest of the millennium.

From very long, solar eclipse were seen with sense of wonder and fear. Not only humans, but there are evidences that animals too change their behavior during eclipses.

A spokesperson for the organizers explained, "Animals have sensory perceptions different from humans, and can see and hear differently. Light is an important cue for animals for their daily activities. Eclipses can change the surrounding light conditions dramatically. Do animals get confused with these changes? Do they behave as they would if it were night? Comparing animal behaviour at different localities across the sub-continent, each of which experiences the eclipse at different times with different magnitudes, will help understand the sensitivity of the animals to such changes."

This eclipse has come as a good chance to observe and record responses of birds and animals. Furthermore, mass participation would enable verification of the patterns from multiple centres.

The spokesperson concluded, "Anyone can participate in EclipseWatch by filling out a simple form with observations made before, during and after the eclipse. The information will be used to track the way in which animals change their behaviour in response to the eclipse. The birds and animals being tracked are "indicator" species like crows, sparrows, lizards and dogs, all of which are common and well-known across India. Further details, including the data collection form, are on the EclipseWatch website
(www. eclipsewatch. in)."