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Friday, January 15, 2010

Solar Eclipse Traverses Africa - What a Spectacle!!

Africans woke up on Friday morning to a cold and chilly weather with a blanket of grey cloud covering the sky, but were soon nodding in satisfaction after witnessing one of the longest solar eclipses that travelled across several African countries.

In Kenya's Capital, Nairobi, the eclipse, which saw the sun completely ringed by the moon, began at about 8:20 am, prompting elated Nairobi residents to employ the use of mobile phones to record the spectacle. While some used sun filters to watch the eclipse, others were simply bemused at the sight even as the rare scene kept on disappearing under a thick and relentless cloud cover. Traveling and other businesses came to a standstill for some minutes as the eight to eleven minute annular solar eclipse – reported to be “the longest eclipse of the 3rd Millennium” by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) - marched.

The eclipse was also experienced in Western Kenya towns of Kericho, Kakamega, Mogotio, Mumias and Bungoma. Completely oblivious of what had become of a Friday morning, some residents in the suburb areas in Kenya panicked in thoughts that the world was coming to an abrupt end. And who could accuse them of ignorance after seeing images of the colossal quake that hit and crumbled down the people and
buildings near Port-au-Prince in the Caribbean nation of Haiti?

Some called radio stations expressing their disgust and disappointments about how much money they were leaving uncollected in their bank accounts. "I have not withdrawn even 500 shillings (about $7) in my bank account, who will collect them for me," wondered one of callers.

One doesn't fail to wonder how many people may have barricaded in underground tunnels trying to escape an "ending world."

Fears aside, the eclipse hit Chad and the Central African Republic, then reached the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya, moved into the Indian Ocean, before marching to India.

After passing over Somalia, the eclipse crossed over the Indian Ocean, where it at one point lasted for over eleven minutes. From the Indian Ocean, the central path of the annular solar eclipse continues into Asia through Bangladesh, India, Burma (Myanmar), and China. A partial eclipse is seen within the much broader path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes eastern Europe, most of Africa, Asia, and Indonesia.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth thereby totally or partially obscuring Earth’s view of the Sun.

If you missed it -  either you hid underground, it never occurred in your country or residential place or simply you covered your head tighter with the blanket under the belief that the world was yielding to the call of the Creator - you will never get to witness such a thing again! The next longest annular solar eclipse will be seen in 3043 (1,033 years to come). By this time, even your children children's children will be dead, and you will be a great great *10power10 grandmother/father. Not unless the death mortality rate in your country is a millennium.

But if you believe in reincarnation, you will see it again, or miss it again. Reason? May be you would have reincarnated into a SusanvonEsch-varkentje worm (they don't have eyes), or replanted to a human being but in a far far land where the term eclipse is only found in the internet and geography books.

And finally, let's help the people of Haiti. 
Here's one of the ways you can help:
or donate to MAP international to enable them respond to this tremendous crisis: http://mapi.convio.net/site/R?i=nQAUSq6-TySIt6RIvOgWOA or
Join the Barrack Obama for Haiti initiative: http://my.barackobama.com/Haiti.

And that's the Steifmastertake!