Nigerians await solar eclipse
*Phenomena do change weather as falling temperatures alter speed, direction of wind
Nigerians cannot wait any longer to witness another eclipse, ten years after the last one on March 29, 2006.
Although this time, on Thursday September 1, 2016, it is going to be an annular eclipse unlike the event in 2006, which was a total eclipse, Nigerians are set to experience another spectacle.
An earlier total solar eclipse took place in Nigeria and along West African coast on May 20, 1947.
Indeed, Nigeria is set for an annular solar eclipse that will be visible all over the country with different degrees of totality on September 1, 2016, even as astronomers in the United States (U.S.) prepare for a spectacle of solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.
Also, researchers have explained why solar eclipses are so rare and how solar eclipses do change weather as falling temperatures alter speed and direction of wind.
Until now, solar eclipses have often been seen as a sign of an impending apocalypse or the anger of the gods, but is believed that the real reason for the erratic occurrence of solar eclipses on Earth may finally have been solved.
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s apparent diameter is larger than the Sun’s, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness.
Annular solar eclipses have a “ring of fire” and occurs when the Moon moves in front of the Sun but does not cover the Sun’s discs completely.
Researchers recently unravelled the mystery of why the Moon has a strange orbital tilt, which causes it to pass between Earth and the Sun to cause an eclipse only occasionally.
They claim the Moon was jostled into its current position through a series of close encounters with large lumps of debris left over from the formation of the inner planets 4.5 billion years ago.
The results were published in a special edition of the world’s oldest scientific publication Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A.
It is published 301 years after Edmund Halley reported sensing the chill and damp that accompanied a solar eclipse in 1715 in the same journal.
Meanwhile, the satellites of most other planets tend to orbit in a path that is in line with the parent planet’s equator.
If the Moon orbited Earth in a similar way, humans would likely experience monthly solar eclipses as it passes between the Earth and the sun.
However, the moon orbits at an angle of 5 degrees off the Earth’s own orbital plane around the sun and spins on an axis that is actually tilted towards Earth.
This results in far less regular solar eclipses.
Using data from several networks of sensors, weather stations, satellites, weather balloons and members of the public, scientists have found the solar eclipse on March 20, 2015 last year led to changes in the wind.
According to the report first published in DailyMailUK Online, the temperatures across the United Kingdom (UK), where the study was conducted and between 85 per cent and 97 per cent of the sun was obscured, dropped by an average of 1.5°F (0.83°C).
In some places temperatures dropped by as much as five or six degrees.
Wind speeds fell by up to 2.3 mph (2 knots) while in areas with clear skies it changed direction by as much as 20 degrees.
It supports of what is known as 000‘eclipse wind’ and strange silences during solar eclipses.
Researchers also took the opportunity to assess how weather models are able to predict changes in the weather during the sudden loss of sunlight.
They also found that temperature drops during the eclipse appear to alter depending on the landscape.
Temperatures fell less in coastal regions and mountainous areas while those locations covered in vegetation also had smaller drops in land surface temperature.
However, according to Wikipedia, almost all actively visited areas in the path of totality during the 2006 total solar eclipse had perfect weather. Many observers reported an unusually beautiful eclipse, with many or all effects visible, and a very nice corona despite proximity to solar minimum.