A rare solar eclipse allowing a view of the Sun blocked by the Moon has taken place in some parts of Nigeria. Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Mrs Rabi Jimeta (left), and Director-General, National Space Research and Development Agency, Prof. Seidu Mohammed, observing the eclipse in Abuja … on Sunday and Partial solar eclipse as captured by a reader in Aba, Abia State …on Sunday
The partial eclipse was also reported in other parts of Africa, including Kenya, as well as in eastern North America and southern Europe.
A resident of Gwagalada, Abuja, Mr. Jones Adebayo, told our correspondent that he caught a glimpse of the eclipse around 2pm on Sunday.
Adebayo said to prepare residents for the viewing of the eclipse, a non-governmental organisation, Sight-in –Eyes, had distributed shades to residents in the community on Saturday.
He said, “I did not even know that there would be an eclipse this year until the NGO started distributing shades on my street on Saturday. Its officials told us that it would be harmful to our health if we viewed the eclipse with our naked eyes.
“I eventually saw it on Sunday around 2pm on my way back from church service. It was very brief, may be 50 seconds but it was a different and special sight.”
A resident of Ibadan, Oyo State, Busayo Daniel, however, expressed disappointment that despite his anticipation to witness the rare phenomenon, it didn’t take place in his community.
He said, “I was outside observing the weather but it was not significantly different from any other day’s. At around 2:30 pm I observed that the sun shone brighter but no darkness was recorded.
“You know normally, when it is sunny it should be hot and sometimes scorching, but this was not the case. That was the only thing of significance that took place. I lost hope after 4: 30pm when the eclipse refused to take place.”
The last time an eclipse occurred in Nigeria was on March 29, 2006, when darkness was reported in some parts of Oyo, Kwara, Niger, Zamfara and Katsina states.
500 students observe partial solar eclipse at NASRDA
No fewer than 500 students of public and private schools across the country on Sunday observed the partial solar eclipse at the National Space Research and Development Agency, Abuja.
A solar eclipse is an astronomical event that occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth and partially blocks the sun.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the solar eclipse started in Abuja at exactly 1. 03 p.m as predicted by NASRDA.
NASRDA provided the students and some Nigerians with instruments, including eclipse shades, to observe the eclipse.
The Supervising Minister for Science and Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, said the students were invited to motivate them to develop interest in the study of science and technology.
“We invited these students to boost their interest in studying of science and technology, which is the bedrock for industrialisation of any nation.
“That is why we are using this medium to encourage you to develop interest in studying science and technology, particularly astronomy and space science.”
Johnson, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Rabi Jimeta, said the occurrence of the partial solar eclipse revealed that space technology was working in Nigeria.
She promised that government would continue in its efforts at ensuring the development of space science.
The Director-General of NASRDA, Prof. Seidu Mohammed, described solar eclipse as a natural phenomenon with no direct impact on climate change.
He said, “All that is happening is a natural phenomenon and there is no religious sentiment attached to it.
“This should help us to discourage the mysteries attached to solar eclipse by various religious bodies.
“From the scientific perspective, it’s just a natural phenomenon.
‘The signal from geo-stationary satellites does not have effect on any of the communication gadgets like the GSM, aircraft and businesses.”
Some of the students who spoke with NAN commended government for the opportunity to observe it at the centre, adding that it would boost their interest in studying science-related courses.
A student of Baptist High School, Kubwa, FCT, Tlat Japherth, said it was his first time of observing solar eclipse with such instruments provided by NASRDA.
Miss Peculiar Daniel of Scintillate Int’l Model School, Lokoja, said the opportunity would help her to know more about the sun, the moon and the earth.
Also, Mr Luru Adewumi, a teacher at the Oak Height Schools, Lugbe, Abuja, described it as an opportunity that some of the teachers never had when they were in school.
Adewumi said the experience would not allow anybody to deceive the students about strange attachments to solar eclipse by people.
He said the it would help the students to understand the practical aspects of science.
However, Mrs. Akinwumi Arize, who brought her five-year-old son to observe the eclipse, said such a gesture would help children to know how the galaxy and the universe operate.
NASRDA had predicted that a partial solar eclipse would occur in Lagos at 12:30 p m.; Kano, 1.07 p. m., and Enugu, 1.04 p.m.
It also added that the entire African continent would be affected by the partial eclipse, while some other parts of the world would witness total eclipse.
The agency predicted that another partial eclipse would occur in April 2014, March 2015 and September 2016
Meanwhile, other online reports indicate that the eclipse was first visible in the southern United States, before sweeping east across the Atlantic Ocean and the African continent.
The US space agency, NASA, said the greatest total eclipse occurred over the Atlantic Ocean.
One of the best views was in northern Kenya, where tour companies organised trips to view a total blackout the BBC reports.
Local myths there attribute the event to the Moon eating the Sun.
Partial views were available in eastern North America and southern Europe.
This solar eclipse was a rare occurrence in that it was “hybrid” – switching between an annular and total eclipse.
In a total eclipse, the moon completely covers the sun, while an annular eclipse occurs when the moon is at its farthest from the Earth and does not block out the Sun completely, leaving a halo of sunlight still visible around the Moon.
The eclipse event began about 1,000km east of Jacksonville, Florida with an annular eclipse visible for four seconds at sunrise.
As the moon’s shadow raced east the eclipse switched from annular to total along a narrow corridor.
The greatest total eclipse occurred in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 330km south-west of Liberia, and lasted for more than one minute.
The eclipse continued across Africa through the Congos until it passed through northern Uganda and northern Kenya, ending in southern Ethiopia and Somalia.
Either side, a partial eclipse was seen within a much broader path – including eastern North America, northern South America, southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.