Now this one is quite interesting, as most news from the planetarium is.
Did you know that there are certain days in the year when you won’t cast a shadow of yourself even if you are standing in the scorching sun? This happens — though just for a while — on certain days when the sun is absolutely, directly and truly on top of your head. And in India we are experiencing that time of the year when your shadow will leave you briefly, as if it has just disappeared.
Here’s a picture borrowed from Arvind Paranjpye, Director of the Nehru Planetarium in Mumbai, to explain what happens.
Though the handle of this torch casts a shadow on the torch, the torch itself casts no shadow. Paranjpye, like many of his colleagues, has been holding public demonstrations for a number of years now to popularise the simple science behind the event.
The phenomenon is experienced twice every year by people living between the latitudes 23.5 deg. south (tropic of Capricorn) and 23.5 deg. north (tropic of Cancer). Standing vertically in the sun during these days at certain given times will make your shadow vanish completely. Here are the timings and dates for some Indian cities that are experiencing the magical phenomenon right now.
It’s interestingly called the ‘Zero Shadow Day’ and is certainly a phenomenon worth experiencing. If not for anything else then to prove the saying “Your shadow never leaves you” wrong!