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It was a moment of excitement yesterday as Ghanaians observed a rare solar eclipse across the country. Children were particularly excited because most of them were experiencing the beauty of the natural phenomenon for the first time.

According to scientists, it was first visible in the southern United States before sweeping east across the Atlantic Ocean and the African continent.

A total eclipse was recorded in Ghana and other parts of the world on March 29, 2006.

This time round, Ghana recorded an 80 per cent partial eclipse.

A partial eclipse occurs when the sun and the moon are not exactly in line and the moon only partially obscures the sun, while a total one happens 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 surrounding the dark disk of the moon.

Scientists say the next partial eclipse will occur in Ghana in September 2015.

Yesterday’s eclipse of the sun started from 11.38 a.m. and gained 85 per cent of the sun at 1. 22p.m.

The Moments

Mabel Aku Baneseh reports from the Burma Camp in Accra that many observers captured the moments with eclipse shades. Those who had the shades passed them to friends and family members who could not get some to buy.

The spouses and children of the officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) partook in the historic moment and viewed the moon’s gradual cover of the sun with awe.

Children who were at the Army Officers Mess attempted to explain the phenomenon to one another the way they understood it.

The situation was not different at the Burma Camp.

Traders, vendors, passengers, drivers and their mates at the 37 Military Hospital Lorry Station were not left out as they also observed the eclipse.

From the Osu Oxford Street, Franklin Badu Jnr and Vida Essel report that a few hours before the eclipse, vendors of the eclipse shades did brisk business. The shades went for between GHc4 and GHc6 for one, depending on who was buying it.

As the spectacle unfolded, residents were seen in groups trying to get a view of the eclipse as they passed eclipse shades around.

Amlado Amoadza, a phone cards vendor, said, “This is my second time; I was here when it occurred in 2006 and I am happy to be part of this experience again.”

At the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, also in Accra, people who did not have the shades gathered around television sets to watch the partial eclipse, while those who had the shades watched the phenomenon with them, reports Salomey Appiah.

It was excitement galore as some other people who did not have the shades filled basins with water and watched the moon gradually cover the sun from it.

Emelia Ennin Abbey reports from another part of the Kwame Nkrumah Circle that some people expressed disappointment at the fact that it was not a total eclipse, although scientists had said what would happen was a partial hybrid solar eclipse.

A jeans seller, Richard Quansah, said, “I saw the last eclipse in 2006 and it was different from what I am seeing today. I can see that the weather has changed but the sky is still clear.”

From Adenta in Accra Severious Kale-Dery reports that as of 9.30 a.m. yesterday it was evident that the euphoria surrounding the eclipse had gripped residents as church goers hurriedly returned home to watch the phenomenon.

Catholics who had worshipped at the St John the Evangelist Catholic Church rushed on two youngsters selling eclipse shades after the service.

Even before the 11.38 a.m. announced time for the start of the eclipse, some people had already put on their shades, looking up into the skies to see the phenomenon happen.

The excitement grew as the clock ticked away and the ‘romance between the sun and the moon’ began.

When the process became evident, people called their relatives in other parts of the country to ensure that they did not miss what was happening.

From Nima-Mamobi in Accra, Zainabu Issah reports that residents went about their normal activities and showed no interest in the event.

Christians who had closed from church were seen busily taking pictures with acquaintances and sharing warm felicitations, while some Muslims were seen performing ablution.

Some children who had a hint of the eclipse took turns to share their solar shades, while others used the negative of films to observe the natural phenomenon.

Some welders in the neighbourhood were seen using their welding glasses to watch the eclipse, while some technologically inclined individuals used mobile phone cameras to view the eclipse.

Daniel Agbenyega reports from the Kotoka International Airport that at 1.15 p.m. when the phenomenon was unfolding, travellers were busily checking in, while flight officials served their clients.

Meanwhile, other travellers, probably those who had some time to spare, people who had come to see others off and some workers came out to see the ‘romance between the sun and the moon’.

People took pictures of the phenomenon with their cell phones.

A driver at the Airport Taxi Rank, Mr Oscar Addo, obviously disappointed, said, “There wasn’t darkness in the atmosphere as happened the last time.”

Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana

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