Signs in the heavens: Is the eclipse a warning to Nigeria?

Nigerians will witness an annular solar eclipse all over the country today.

The eclipse will happen when the Moon moves in front of the Sun but does not cover it completely.

The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), said yesterday the solar event will be more prominent in southern states.

Lagos State residents will notice 80% obscurity while 45% obscurity will be observed in the northern part of the country, particularly Sokoto.

According to Head NASRDA’s communication chief, Dr. Felix Ale, “The annular eclipse is expected to occur between 7:15 a.m. and 10:03 a.m.

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“This will happen with slight variations in actual timing across the country.

“In Lagos, the first contact will occur about 7:15 a.m. while the maximum eclipse will occur around 8:30 a.m. and will end by 10:03 a.m.

“The eclipse is expected to commence in Abuja around 7:17 a.m., with maximum eclipse to be recorded about 8:32 a.m. and the eclipse will end around 10:00 a.m.”

Ale also reminded Nigerians that eclipse is not a spiritual issue but a natural occurrence that can be accurately predicted by science.

He said NASRDA has developed the capacity to accurately make this prediction as part of its mandate.

NASDRA has also put in place a viewing center at in Abuja with the provision of proper eclipse viewing apparatus for school children.

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The aim i to expose Nigerians, especially students, to matters concerning astronomical environment.

NASRDA, however, warned that observing the solar eclipse with naked eyes could lead to permanent damage to the eyes.

“An annular eclipse occurs when the sun and moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the moon is smaller than that of the sun.

“Hence the sun appears as a very bright ring around the dark disk of the moon,” Ale said.