Second and final solar eclipse of 2016

Sunday, 11 Sep, 2016

The United States will witness the total solar eclipse in August 2017 for the first time in 37 years.

The solar spectacle is called an annular eclipse, and it is also referred as a "ring of fire" eclipse.

The greatest eclipse will occur in the Southern Hemisphere portion of Africa.

The display will start at 06:13 GMT (08:13 CAT) in the south Atlantic, passing over Gabon, the two Congos, Tanzania and the northern tip of Mozambique and Madagascar.

A solar eclipse occurs during a new moon when the Moon is sandwiched in a flawless line between Earth and the Sun, and the side of the Moon facing us is nothing but a shadow.

Every 18 months or so, there is one annular eclipse and one total solar eclipse somewhere on Earth. The next one we are going to experience in Ghana will also be a partial eclipse on February 26, 2017.

You'll note that the moon never entirely obscures the face of the sun.

Chief meteorological officer Mr. Jonathan Chifuna said for yesterday it was the moon that came between the sun and the earth. The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) has shared satellite images of the eclipse that show the clouds acted as a hurdle in the view, but overall the event went well.

The annular solar eclipse happens every 18 months. But in an annular eclipse, the moon doesn't completely cover the sun; this is because the orbits of the earth and moon are elliptical (that is, egg-shaped).

"In Jakarta, only the beginning of the eclipse can be seen at 5.30 p.m, and it will end when the sun sets", he said. The intensity of light radiating from a partial or whole eclipse can still cause retinal damage. The line continues across the middle of Lake Tanganyika into Tanzania at 08:33:54 UT (duration of annularity being three minutes and four seconds).

In a statement signed by the Head of Media and Corporate Communications of NASRDA, Dr. Felix Ale, the annular eclipse would be observed as a partial or near total eclipse across Nigeria with Abuja the Federal Capital Territory expected to be about 60 percent.

However, experts have warned people against looking into the sun with their naked eyes directly or to using improvised means such as smoked glasses, colour film, sunglasses and polarising filters as they are not safe and could have their sight significantly affected by sun rays.