Thousands watch hybrid eclipse

Monday November 4 2013

President Museveni at the historical event

President Museveni at the historical event 

By FELIX WAROM OKELLO & PATRICK OKABA

Nebbi- Thousands of people yesterday converged at Owiny Primary School in Panyango Sub-county in Nebbi district to watch the hybrid eclipse, one of the rarest types known in Astronomy.

The eclipse occurred at about 5:23pm when the moon shielded the sun and created a spectacular temporary darkness for several seconds.

The crowd that had gathered for several hours before the incident marvelled as scientists gave minute by minute updates on the percentage the moon had covered the sun.

And with every increase in percentage, as the moon started to cross to the sun, the high temperature began to drop and darkness set in. This lasted for about 1:15 minutes when it became totally dark.

The crowd jubilated and some people knelt down in prayers, saying the moment signified a spiritual moment.

But many risked and watched the eclipse without any protective gear despite several warnings that this would result into irreversible blindness. However, no case of any person affected by the solar eclipse has been registered yet.

President Museveni, who took time to experience the moment, said there was need to preserve the tourist site so that it attracts more investment for the country. “Strict boundaries and borders of the tourist and wild life sites would boost tourism which eventually would strengthen our economy,” he said.

He noted that the tourism sector, which employs more than 500,000 people, should grow.
“But also tourism can be used by terrorists when they can masquerade as tourists. And I apologise on behalf of the tourists for the checks they underwent. This was to ensure that we watch the eclipse safely,” he said.

The gadgets were inadequate for the number of people. Some improvised black and white polythene bags. Before the viewing, pupils scrambled to get the 600 sunglasses provided by Total E & P Company but were inadequate.

The hybrid eclipse is the rarest of the four types. It changes from an annular to total eclipse along the path. It occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun and cast a shadow on the surface of the earth.

According to scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, only seven of its kind have occurred since the beginning of the year A. D and the next is hybrid eclipse is projected to occur on June 3, 2114.

Rare eclipse
This 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 in an annular eclipse occurs the moon is at its farthest from the earth and does not block out the Sun.

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