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Sunday, 3 November 2013

Solar Eclipse Sunday- Nigeria(TIME)

Solar eclipse is an astronomical phenomenon that occurs when the moon moves between the earth and the sun, partially or completely blocking the rays of the sun hitting the earth. Direct blockage of the sun’s rays in this manner casts a shadow on the earth, resulting in partial or total eclipse, depending on where on earth the cosmic event occurs.


Solar eclipse happens because the moon is closer to the earth at an average distance of 384,400 km while the sun is about 150 million km from the earth.
To prepare Nigerians for the unique astronomical event expected to happen today, Director, Centre for Basic Space Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Prof. Fidelis Opara, has predicted the time the solar  eclipse would be observed in different parts of the country.
According to  him, the eclipse will occur in Abakaliki  between 1.06pm and  4.09pm, in  Ibadan between 12.52pm and 4.01pm, in  Port Harcourt  between 1.03pm and 4.09pm,in Enugu between 1.04pm and 4.07pm, in Lagos between 12.50pm and 4.01pm, in Kano between 1.07pm and 4.01pm; Abuja between 1.03pm and 4.03pm and in Uyo between 1.06pm to 4.09pm.

Before astronomers demystified the sudden, sustained darkness associated with the solar eclipse, the occurrence of the cosmic event used to cause fear among people in certain regions of the world, who attributed a supernatural significance to it.
To allay such fears, the Director-General of the National Space and Research Agency, Dr. Seidu Mohammed, advised Nigerians to note that the eclipse is a  natural event that should not bring about undue panic. He urged all Nigerians to remain calm as the eclipse would not hinder normal activities.
However, it is necessary to warn that people should not look skyward during the occurrence without proper protection for the eyes.
An article published on www.space.com stressed that a fraction of a second of magnified, unfiltered sunlight would burn the retina of the eye irreparably.  The effect feels like having a horrible sunburn on the eyeball. The eye cannot grow new layers by peeling off the burnt layer like the skin does. Therefore, staring directly at the sun is dangerous without the protection of safety equipment used by veteran sky watchers and astronomers.
In essence, looking directly at the sun can lead to permanent eye damage or blindness. Therefore special eye protection or indirect viewing techniques should be used when viewing the solar eclipse.
One crude solution is to look skyward by holding a green beer bottle above the eyes. Alternatively, a person can pour water in a wide plastic bowl and look at the water surface to observe the eclipse at it occurs.

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