Nigerians troop out en masse for eclipse

Posted by News Express | 2 September 2016 | 2,097 times

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Since May 20, 1947, when people in Nigeria witnessed total darkness for a few minutes in the afternoon during the eclipse of that year, many Nigerians have always looked forward to an eclipse hoping that the 1947 event would recur. It was, therefore, not surprising that Nigerians, in many parts of the country, yesterday, trooped out to observe the annular eclipse.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between earth and the sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the sun for a viewer on earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon’s apparent diameter is larger than the sun’s, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness. An annular solar eclipse happens when the moon covers the sun’s centre, leaving the sun’s visible outer edges to form a “ring of fire” or annulus around the moon.

Nigerian cities and towns where people observed the eclipse with rapt attention for over two and half hours, yesterday,  included Nsukka, Lagos, Abuja, Maiduguri, Sokoto, Anyigba, Kano, Osogbo, Benin City, Port Harcourt and Auchi. UNN staff, students view eclipse with shades At the University town of Nsukka, staff and students of the University of Nigeria, UNN, observed the eclipse at the Christ Church Chapel field in the university.

Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Group of the university led by Prof. Augustine Ubachukwu had informed members of the university community that the eclipse would be partial in the south eastern part of the country and also provided observers with Eclipse shades. Among those who observed the eclipse as early as 7.30am, were the Registrar, Chris Igbokwe; Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Professors James Ogbonna (Academics); Charles Igwe (Administration) and a host of other lecturers from the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Ogbonna said the experience was beautiful, adding that in his primary school days, he and other pupils used to observe eclipse with water in a white basin. “Today, technology has made it easier,” he added, and commended the research group not only for sensitising the university community on the eclipse but also providing Eclipse Shades for viewers.

Also, Prof Igwe said that observing the eclipse was both scientific and fun, pointing out that both “the observatory arrangement by our Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Group shows that our scientists are working, I am very proud of them.”

The Coordinator of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Group, Prof. Ubachukwu, said the partial eclipse took “full effect around 8:00am after which the separation started.”

•Excerpted from a Saturday Vanguard report. Photo shows some Nigerian students observing the eclipse . . . yesterday.


Source: News Express

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