Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Eclipse Tomorrow Will Blot Out the Sun

By KWASI KPODO, Associated Press Writer
Tue Mar 28, 8:17 AM ET

ACCRA, Ghana - Tourists and scientists were gathering at spots around the world for a solar show — the first total eclipse in years, which will sweep northeast from Brazil to Mongolia, blotting out the sun across swathes of of the world's poorest lands.

Wednesday's eclipse will blot out the sun in highly populated areas, including west Africa, where governments scrambled to educate people about the dangers of looking at the eclipse without proper eye protection.

In Togo, authorities imported hundreds of thousands of pairs of special glasses that consumers cleared rapidly from shelves in the capital, Lome. But villagers in the interior won't have access to the eyewear and officials called on them to stay home.

"Please, do not go out and keep your children indoors on solar eclipse day," Togo's minister for health said in a message broadcast on state television.

Night will turn to day in the eclipse's route and a corona will glow around the edges of the moon as it comes between the earth and the sun. But the corona's light can burn eyes.

In Ghana, where the effect will be particularly visible, people were spending about US$1 (about 80 euro cents) for "solar shades" — paper-rimmed glasses with dark plastic lenses that resemble eyewear used for viewing three-dimensional movies.

Crowds were anticipated in prime viewing points, among them Accra, the capital of Ghana, and in Turkey and India. In Ghana, the University of Cape Coast will broadcast the eclipse simultaneously on the Internet.

Tens of thousands of tourists were expected along the Turkish Mediterranean coast. Astronomers from NASA and Britain's Royal Institute of Astronomy also were going to an ancient Roman amphitheater in Turkey to view the phenomenon.

The moon is expected to first begin blocking out the sun in the morning in Brazil before the path of greatest blockage migrates to Africa, then on to Turkey and up into Mongolia, where it will fade out with the sunset.

Superstition will follow around the world, as it has for generations.

One Indian paper advised pregnant women not to go outside during the eclipse to avoid having a blind baby or one with a cleft lip. Food cooked before the eclipse should be thrown out afterward because it will be impure and those who are holding a knife or ax during the eclipse will cut themselves, the Hindustan Times added.


In a related story, Pat Robertson has said that we should be expecting locusts for tomorrow.