This Wednesday, March 29th, parts of Africa will experience a total solar eclipse. Richard Talcott is a senior editor for Astronomy Magazine. He spoke to English to Africa Joe De Capua about the celestial event:
“Solar eclipses are actually fairly common. They happen about once every six months or so. But the reason that this is so interesting is because it’s a fairly long eclipse and it’s also a total eclipse. Most of the eclipses that we have are partial, where some of the sun remains in view. But this one is going to be total over a fairly narrow path, about 100 miles across. And people will be able to see the sun completely disappear from the sky.”
Talcott explains where in Africa will be the best viewing locations. “It’s actually along a narrow path that stretches from the western coast of Africa and then comes up through Libya and Egypt. And the best conditions are right near the Egyptian/Libyan border, where the sun will be gone from view for a little bit over four minutes.”
Not much scientific data is collected anymore during these eclipses and most people just enjoy the sky show. However, it is dangerous to look at the eclipse during the partial phases because the sun’s light is so bright. This is especially true if using a telescope or binoculars. However, Talcott says once the eclipse is total, it’s safe to look at.