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Nigeria await partial eclipse today

By The Citizen
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Between 1 pm and 4pm Sunday, nine Nigerian states and Abuja would witness partial eclipse, a phenomenon that occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, and partially blocks the sun.

The eclipse will particularly hit the cities of Abakiliki, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Uyo.

At lugbe, a satellite town in Abuja, children and adults were seen collecting big bowls and filling them with water. When asked what the bowls were for, they told The Guardian that they would look into the water to view the eclipse since they were told it would be harmful to look into the sky directly.

A 12-year-old girl said she dreams to be a scientist in future and was, therefore, excited about the eclipse.

Meanwhile, scientists at the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) Abuja and the Centre for Basic Space Science (CBSS), Nsukka have explained that the eclipse would also occur in Accra Ghana, which is also in the same equator with Nigeria and within the same time frame.

At the space agency in Abuja, school children and some select residents would be provided with special eyeglasses to enable them directly observe the interesting phenomenon without harming their eyes. They are expected to gather at the NARSDA to behold the wonders of nature.

The Guardian confirmed yesterday that same activity would go on at the CBSS situated at the University of Nigeria Nsukka.

The Director-General of NASDRA, Prof. Seidu Mohammed, had described eclipse as a natural event that occurs when an astronomical object is temporarily obscured, even as he dispelled fears often associated with such development. He said the eclipse did not mean that the world has come to an end.

'These things are natural phenomena. Nigerians should not be afraid. The agency has responsibility to the nation, hence the reason for the early warning signal. It is our duty to keep the nation informed of such developments. We urge Nigerians to remain calm because there is no reason to panic,' he said.

'November 3rd (today) will be like any other day. It will not hinder signal from the satellite, so mobile signal will not be affected. Our Internet and other facilities will be operating and it will not even affect flights. Nothing out of the ordinary is expected to occur apart from a shadow bend, which will be felt just at the time we predicted. We have predicted the starting time and when it will end, which is around 4pm in most cities.

'There may be different types of sounds; even animals respond differently and that may cause some panic.  All the states across the whole of West Africa would be affected.'

Director of the Centre for Basic Space Science at Nsukka, Prof. Fidelis Opara, explained that other locations to witness the partial solar eclipse include Hamilton, Bermuda, New York, New York, U.S.A, Freetown, Sierra Leone, Monrovia, Liberia; São Tomé, Sao Tome and Principe; Malabo, Equatorial Guinea; Port-Gentil, Gabon; ibreville, Gabon; Yaoundé, Cameroon; Brazzaville, Congo; Kinshasa, Congo Dem. Rep; Bangui, Central African Republic; Juba, South Sudan; Kigali, Rwanda; Kampala, Uganda; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Nairobi, Kenya and Mogadishu, Somalia.

He urged Nigerians to wear sunglasses to view the occurrence, adding that the measure would protect their eyes.

He said NASRDA would provide the special glasses for some Nigerians, especially children to witness the occurrence.

Like today, similar eclipses is expected to occur by April 15, 2014; Oct. 8, 2014; April 4, 2015; and Sept. 25, 2015.