ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IN TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS
ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IN TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS- Fred Shirima.
1st of September of 2016 tourists will be lucky to witness one of the rarest astronomical phenomenon, Annular solar Eclipse in Tanzania.
The most rewarding thing is the fact that, this year the eclipse viewers will have an opportunity to experience this in the middle of African Savanna of Tanzania National Parks!
Seeing a solar eclipse is sometimes described as a-once-in-a lifetime experience and this become even more entertaining when observers get a unique opportunity to experience the eclipse alongside stunning nature and wildlife in the Parks.
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun thereby totally or partially blocking the image of the sun for viewers on the earth.
An annular solar eclipse happens when the moon covers the Sun’s center, leaving the Sun’s visible outer edges to form a ‘’ring of fire’’ or annulus around the moon.
At an annular solar eclipse the moon is too small to completely cover the Sun’s disk and this is due to its average distance from the earth. With over 97% of the Sun’s diameter covered by the moon only a very thin ring of the Sun will be visible to an observer in the middle of the eclipse’s path.
An annular solar eclipse is quite stunning to view, and requires one to be within the path of annularity to see the main effect of a ‘’ring of fire’’. Solar filters must be used for viewing throughout- even during (eclipse) annularity.
The path of eclipse (annularity) for this year as can be seen from the NASA map starts in the South Atlantic Ocean, crossing central Africa countries of Gabon, Congo then Tanzania and Mozambique before passing to Madagascar and Islands of Reunion, ending in Indian Ocean.
According to NASA interactive map extracted from their website (eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov), the best viewing site is the point of Greatest Eclipse located southern Tanzania, giving annularity duration (eclipse) of 3 minutes and 6 seconds.
Famous Katavi and Mahale National Parks in Tanzania are positioned nicely for viewing the eclipse on 1st,September 2016 !