No Shadow Day in Chennai Triggered Scientific Temper

It was a fascinating experience for many in Chennai to experience No Shadow Day at 12:07 PM this Sunday (24.04.2022) afternoon. 

At the Elliot’s Beach, The Institute of Mathematical Sciences had set up two thin poles of around five foot high on the beach. For many it was was an exciting experience to see the shadow of the polls gradually getting shorter from 11:30 AM onwards. At 12:07 it vanished completely and started to appear a few minutes later.

Across the city The Tamil Nadu Science Forum had set up similar demonstrations at fifty locations and had arranged a series of activities for children to help them and the public understand the science behind this. They had also deployed volunteers to answer their  queries.

Explaining this Prateek Chawla, a research scholar at IMSC said “Though we study that at noon the sun is overhead, only at this moment the sun is technically overhead and that’s for around thirty seconds we will not see the shadow or it would be exactly underneath.”

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The Tamil Nadu Scientific Forum had organised 50 demonstrations across Chennai to engage with children on No Shadow Day, in a bid to develop a scientific temper.

Sudhakaran from the Tamil Nadu Science Forum says “We are using  events like this to develop a scientific temper among children.”

Varuni P, Outreach Associate, IMSC added “We can learn a lot of things about astronomy and geography just by studying how shadows change. By measuring shadows we can learn how the sun actually moves through the sky.” On similar observations on sunrise she says “We ask people to regularly visit the beaches to witness sunrise. In winter it rises from Chennai’s southern coast and in summer from the northern side.” 

Siddharth a lower class student did not well understand the concept though he watched the shadow vanishing. He said “My father brought me here. He would explain to me.”

Zero shadow day occurs twice a year in tropical regions. For the next event in August the forum plans to reach out to schools to engage with children on this scientific concept.


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