Eclipse: Museveni to be chief viewer

Friday November 1 2013

By Martin Ssebuyira

Kampala- President Museveni will be the chief viewer of Sunday’s hybrid solar eclipse that will be viewed mainly at Owiny Primary School in the northern Uganda district of Nebbi.

Tourism minister Maria Mutagamba said President Museveni had accepted to grace the occasion expected to attract more than 35,000 visitors from Uganda and other countries.

“We are likely to start the event at 2pm with a service organised by religious leaders of all religions and at exactly 4:30pm, we ready ourselves to start the viewing. This is a once in a life-time event predicted to happen again in 2114,” Ms Mutagamba told journalists in Kampala, yesterday.

The solar eclipse will pass over West, Central and East Africa, with Uganda having the best viewing sights in Nebbi, Gulu, Lira and Arua all northern Uganda districts.

The partial eclipse will begin at 4:06pm and end at 6:27pm but the total eclipse when the moon is closest to the centre of the sun will last for 2 minutes at 5:23pm.

Health warning
State minister for Health Sarah Opendi warned people against looking directly at the eclipse saying it could damage their retinas and they eventually become blind.

“When one looks for a long time at the sun without proper protection for the eyes, there may occur chemical changes on the retina of the eye that may be accompanied by a visual injury. The injury created is dangerous because it is not detected immediately as no pain is sensed,” Ms Opendi said, adding: “The extent of the damage, however, can be witnessed after about seven hours with one eventually becoming blind.”

What you need to know before eclipse viewing

Most at risk. Children and teenagers have been identified as most risk of visual impairment during the two-minute event.

Best viewing time. The only time the sun can be viewed safely with the naked eye is during a total eclipse.
Safety gear. People should not use colour films, black and white films that contain no silver, photographic negatives with images on them, smoked glass and sunglasses.

No use of mirrors. People are advised not to view the eclipse through a mirror or through water in a basin because sun rays will directly reflect straight into the eye with a high intensity.

Safest device. The safest devices are solar viewers with aluminised polyester that have a thin layer of chromium alloy and people are advised people to use negatives without images used as double layers, pinholes (made by passing a pin through a hard paper or cardboard), black kaveera (polythene bags), compact discs and floppy discs and welders’ glasses and pin hole cameras.

Red Cross alert. Uganda Red Cross Society yesterday re-activated its Red Cross Action Teams in Nebbi District to provide first aid and evacuation services in case needed.

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