Oct. 5, 2005; 6:30 A.M., PT
Gerry M. Kaye
People can attain the facts to understand scientifically, in black and white, the natural causes that are responsible for the rare occurrence of the annular eclipse that took place on Oct. 3, 2005:
During an annular eclipse, the Moon travels between the Earth and the Sun, leaving a bright, fiery rim. The Moon is too small to blot out the Sun completely, as in a total eclipse, because its elliptical orbit has taken it too far from the Earth. The rim of fire that appears around the Moon glows brighter than the corona that is seen during a total eclipse.
Monday's annular eclipse started over the North Atlantic at 4:41 a.m. EDT, passing over Madrid, central Sudan, southern Somalia and over the Indian Ocean. They are a rare sight because they can only be viewed by people in a narrow band area.
"It was incredible. It became darker and darker and you could definitely feel the effect, the temperature, the wind and the light," said University of North Dakota astronomy professor Timothy Young. "The Moon went right into the center like the bull's eye. I wished it had lasted for hours instead of just four minutes."
For astronomers, modern science provides documented facts mostly by having the ability to observe and measure the particular occurrence.
But a great many people are emotionally worked up and uneasy as to the dramatic event's speculative "accountability", which leaves people with conjured, heightened imagination and emotions such as anxiety, trepidation and fearful expectation. Some believe it a sign of retribution; others may be stirred up emotionally in ways that could vent in anger, resentment and rebellion.
In NAIROBI, Kenya, Thud Ndaruvukanye said, "It looks like sunset, but it is only midday. This is a strong sign from GOD to show us that He Is the most Powerful." In this African capital, people prayed when the Moon masked the Sun like a black plate, leaving a bright rim.
At the Central Park in Nairobi, residents who gathered during their lunch break watched the eclipse as an evangelical preacher prayed loudly. As temperature and light faded at noon, birds chirped excitedly as they do at sunset.
"It may be a sign of the end of the world or some other great disaster. This is what we believe," said 82 year old Tigris tribesman Tabard Tsegahun in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. "I don't know what you members of the new generation say about it," he said, but "We will keep praying to survive the danger that will come after it."
From northern Portugal to the heart of Africa, crowds gathered Monday on roofs, hilltops and in city squares for a rare chance to see the spectacular solar eclipse. The eclipse traveled along a narrow band across almost half the planet. After a 3 1/2 hour stretch traversing northern Portugal and Spain, it moved south across mostly deserted parts of Africa, encompassing Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
In Madrid, the best place in Europe to see it, families, teenagers with teachers and groups of enthusiasts met at the city's planetarium beneath a cloudless sky and donned protective eyeglasses to watch the eclipse directly or via a giant TV screen. Office workers and school children went to the rooftops as the normally blinding light of the Spanish capital dimmed and the air chilled. People shared the special glasses, and whooped and applauded with excitement.
"It was a beautiful sight. I won't see one again," said 68 year old Isabel Balset. "I got very emotional and the tears just flowed."
Traditionally, Burundians believe that an eclipse marks a time when the Earth and Heaven are linked; and is considered an omen for great misfortune, including poor harvests, the death of precious cattle, an epidemic or conflict.
We all can understand and agree on the factual "responsibility"; we definitely need more light on the active "accountability" of what happened.
Reference: Mon., Oct. 3, 2005, "Thousands Gather to View Rare Eclipse" By MAR ROMAN - AP.
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