Wednesday, August 31, 2016

World ‘moves’ to Tanzania as solar eclipse occurs today

TANZANIANS and other international visitors will today witness the annular solar eclipse that will be witnessed in Rujewa and Wang’ing’ombe in Mbeya and Njombe regions respectively.
The two areas, according to astronomy experts, are the best sites for viewing the rare event in which the sun’s disk will change to a ring.
Experts say that the next eclipse in Tanzania is expected to occur after 15 years, thus this global astronomical event is expected to attract a number of scientists, researchers, celebrities and eclipse chasers within and outside the country.
The regional commissioners of the two regions in which the fascinating event will take place have guaranteed security for both local and international guests who will be visiting the areas.
Mbeya Regional Commissioner (RC) Mr Amos Makalla told the ‘Daily News’ yesterday that important measures have been put in place to ensure that people who will be visiting Rujewa in Mbarali District are safe and have access to basic needs from the area.
“Since this historical event will attract local and international visitors, the regional government has taken initiatives to upgrade infrastructures at the area to allow the visitors to enjoy their tour,” Mr Makalla said.
He called upon students across the country to visit Rujewa and witness the historical event which will be useful in their studies. “Students have been learning about solar eclipse theoretically, thus this event is an important opportunity for them to witness how it occurs.”
Mr Makalla noted that the last solar eclipse occurred in the country in 1977 while after the September 1 event the next solar eclipse will be expected to take place in 2035. “The regional leadership is committed to ensure that this event is successful and people returned to their homes safely,” Mr Makalla insisted.
On her part, Njombe Regional Commissioner (RC), Dr Rehema Nchimbi, said that although there have been several events of solar eclipse, but experts describe the one to take place today as historical, because the moon will cover the sun’s disk by between 95 per cent and 99 per cent.
“Although the solar eclipse will also be witnessed in other few areas, experts have identified Wang’ing’ombe in my region and Rujewa in Mbeya as the sites where solar eclipse will be clearly witnessed,” Ms Nchimbi said.
She said that her region has taken measures to create friendly environment for both local and international visitors including their safety. The RC said that as part of promoting domestic tourism, her office in collaboration with other authorities in the region had also conducted campaigns to attract more Tanzanians including students to take part in witnessing the astronomical phenomenon.
According to Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), the annual solar eclipse will occur from 10:17am to 1:56pm where people in Tanzania will witness first-hand the sun go evening-dim at midday as more than 90 per cent of the sun will be covered by the moon in a partial solar eclipse leaving the sun as a thin crescent.
TTB said the annual eclipse will be seen as a thin bright ring for hundreds of thousands of people living within a 100 kilometre band crossing Southern Tanzania from Congo into Katavi, Mbeya, Ruvuma, to Masasi and out to Mozambique.
Addressing reporters recently, the TTB Acting Managing Director, Mr Philip Chitaunga, said the unique event is crucial for the board to market tourists attractions in the country, particularly in the Southern Highlands. He said that the event can be exploited by students and teachers to learn about the occurrence of annual solar eclipses, which is taught theoretically in schools

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