Solar Eclipse in Uganda

More than 30,000 foreign tourists are expected to visit Uganda for a rare viewing of the solar eclipse next month in the northern part of the country. The country’s Tourism Ministry officials say they anticipate the event to attract several international eclipse trackers to Uganda to the districts of Nebbi, Arua, Gulu, Soroti and Masindi that will provide the most vintage locations for viewing the rare occurrence of a total solar eclipse on Sunday 3rd November, 2013.

The country has planned several activities to showcase the richness of Uganda’s tourism potential during the event to take advantage of the visiting tourists.

An eclipse of the sun occurs when the moon revolving in its orbit around the earth comes between the sun and the earth. The moon blocks the light of the sun and a shadow of the moon is cast over the earth’s surface.

When the moon passes in front of the sun, the shadow falls on the earth and it appears to exactly cover the sun’s disc. This is what a solar eclipse is – a shadow casted by moon obstructing sunlight from reaching the Earth.

During a solar eclipse, the moon actually casts two shadows towards earth. One shadow shaped like a cone is called the umbra. This becomes narrower as it reaches the earth. No direct sunlight penetrates into this area. The path of this is called the path of totality. If you are positioned in this area then you can see a complete blocking of the sun and view a total solar eclipse. Total eclipse is observable only within a narrow strip of land or sea over which the umbra passes.

The tropical regions of Africa will therefore enjoy vintage viewing points of the second and final solar eclipse on November 3, 2013. Most parts of this region will see either a total solar eclipse or a deep partial solar eclipse.

In Uganda, the total solar eclipse track runs across northern Uganda and areas of Nebbi, Arua, Gulu, Soroti, Masindi are expected to see the total eclipse; whereas the rest of the country will see a deep partial Eclipse.

Outside of Africa, a shallow partial solar eclipse shall be seen from eastern North America, southern Greenland, the Caribbean, northern South America, southern Europe, the Middle East.

The track across Uganda descends from the high mountains along the border with the DRC, crosses the flat plateau north of Lake Albert, climbs over a lower set of hills to reach Gulu, and descends again.

This up-and-down track makes selection of a site in northeast Uganda complicated but the best site – a location north of Lake Albert near Pakwach. The area is protected to the east and west by higher ground and the effects of the nearby lake to the south.