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Updated on: Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 08:06 PM IST

Zero shadow day: For once, there was not even a ghost of a shadow

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Mumbai: One’s shadow is considered a symbol of trustworthiness as it is always dogging one’s steps in the light. But that is not always true. It does leave one’s side for a few minutes on certain days of the year.

This was the case in Mumbai on Wednesday, which was a zero shadow day (ZSD), with shadows practically disappearing between noon and 12.30pm. ZSD is a phenomenon which occurs twice a year, taking place when the sun is at a 90-degree angle to the Earth’s surface, exactly overhead, causing shadows of people and objects to almost disappear for a few minutes.

Mahesh Palawat, chief meteorologist at Skymet Weather, said, “This time zero shadow day was on May 15 and for those who missed not seeing their shadow at the specified time today, have another chance to do so on July 28. This an astronomical phenomenon can only be witnessed by those living between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn,” he said.

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“On this day, the sun is exactly at the top and thus no shadow is cast on the ground at noon. The sun crossed the local meridian connecting the north to the south and exactly reaches its zenith between 12pm and 12.20pm. At this point, the person’s shadow is exactly under them, so they cannot see it,” explained Palawat.

However, the event failed to cast a shadow on most Mumbaikars’ day. They were in the dark about ZSD, saying they had never heard of it. “I know Environment Day and Earth Day. But today, I learnt about a new day — zero shadow day. I have been playing cricket for the past seven years but have never noticed whether my shadow is there or has disappeared, we are so completely absorbed in our game,” Dharmesh Barai, a cricketer.

What is zero shadow day?

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A zero shadow day occurs when the sun is directly overhead on a specific latitude, at its zenith and the rays are perpendicular to the earth’s surface. So shadows are not seen at this specific point. One must jump to see one’s shadow. The interesting phenomenon occurs twice a year. Every location on the planet between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn witness two zero shadow days in a year. In India, this happens between April and September.

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Published on: Thursday, May 16, 2019, 06:00 AM IST
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