The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), on Wednesday advised that Nigerians should not panic over the annular eclipse due to occur in different parts of the country.
In a statement signed by the agency’s Head of Media and Corporate Communication, Mr. Felix Ale, in Abuja, said the eclipse will be experienced between the hours of 7:15am and 10:03am with slight variations in actual timing across the country.
An annular eclipse, the agency explained, occurs when the sun and the 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 or annulus surrounding the dark disk of the moon.
He said: “The agency has arranged a viewing centre at the Obasanjo Space centre, along airport road, Abuja, to enable members of the public, pupils and students from various schools to view the eclipse.
Ale, said the agency will provide specially designed viewing instruments for Nigerians who wish to watch the eclipse between those hours.
According to him, eclipse is an astronomical event, and an occurrence of nature for man to behold but cannot be viewed with the naked eyes as this can cause permanent damage to the human eyes.
He said: “The eclipse will be experience at varying obscurities, with the southern part of the country having the highest degree of obscurity of eighty per cent, and in the north the lowest obscurity of fort-five per cent.
“In the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, there will be a partial eclipse, with an obscurity of sixty per cent, and the first contact at about 7:17am, with maximum eclipse at 8:32am and end at 10:00am.”
According to him, Lagos will also experience its first contact with the eclipse at 7:15am, with a maximum eclipse occurring at 8:32am and ending at about 10:00am.
He advised the public not panic or attach any spiritual connotation to this appearance of the eclipse, as this is a natural occurrence which has been accurately predicted by science.
“The National Space Research and Development Agency has developed necessary capacity to accurately make these predictions.
“The viewing centre which has been set up by the agency will be open to the public on Thursday 1st September, 2016 from 6:45am for school pupils and students to observe the annular eclipse as part of its continuous programmes to expose Nigerians and students to matters concerning astronomical environment.”