This Solar eclipse at Dumraon lasted for 99 minutes. Multiple teams of scientists from England, the USA and even Japan came to India to observe this solar eclipse and capture the same with their cameras and telescope. Out of these several teams, one was from Maharaja Taihtasingji Observatory while the other was from British Astronomical Association (BAA). The third was from California (USA) and fourth was from Japan.
There were several other independent observers who came to capture this important solar eclipse. This includes Jesuit Missionaries from Western Bengal, St. Xavier’s College Observatory (Calcutta) St. Joseph College (Darjeeling). While scientists from Maharaja Taihtasingji Observatory stationed themselves at Jeur in the Solapur district of Maharashtra, the team of BAA, Jesuit Fathers, Survey of India etc came to Dumraon.
Dumraon was the capital of the Dumraon Raj, a princely state in the North-Western part of Bihar. Dumraon is a subdivision and second largest & historical town of the Buxar district of Bihar. It was part of the Shahabad district during colonial rule.
Dumraon was considered the best location for capturing that solar eclipse due for several reasons. Dumraon was selected over other places due to its dry and clear sky suitable for capturing sun and other planets in the sky. Another reason was the kind hospitality of the Maharani (Princes) of Dumraon and the third was its close proximity to the railway station. From Dumraon even Moon, Mars and Mercury were seen during the eclipse.
Reports on Solar Eclipse:
Three reports were prepared on this expedition. One by Kavasji Dadabhai Naegamvala from Maharaja Taihtasingji Observatory, another by E. Walter Maunder (representative of BAA) and a third by Rev. V. De Campigneulles. The first report was specifically on Jeur while the third report was specifically on observation at Dumraon in Bihar. There were other places from where scientists captured the eclipse. This included Jeur and Vance in Maharashtra, Viziadrug on the Karnataka coast, Buxar (Bihar), Talni, Pulgaon, Sahdol, and Ghoglee in Central Province (Madhya Pradesh).
The report on Dumraon was prepared and observed by a party of Jesuit Fathers of the Western Bengal Mission. Unlike other places of observation, multiple teams including the Photographic Department of the Survey of India, BBA and Missionaries came for observations.
The Scientific community across the world were interested in capturing the movement of the sun largely due to the increasing popularity of the relationship between the movement in the Sun with Weather, wheat production, water bodies, droughts, famine etc. A new branch of science emerged out of this namely Astrophysics or Solar Physics.
Recently, St. Xavier’s College Observatory (Calcutta) was restored to start functioning again for research purposes. Bihar government may think of establishing an Astrophysics Centre and harnessing the natural potention of the region for scientific research.