Gowri's Nature Blog


Stories of the wilderness. In the many voices of nature.

November 3, 2013, Hybrid Solar Eclipse in Kenya


In November 3, 2013, a total solar eclipse will pass over equatorial Gabon in Western Africa congo, Uganda, Kenya and finally Ethiopia. Lodwar in Kenya reports a very encouraging “percent of possible sunshine” of 74 percent, strong confirmation of a pronounced decline in cloudiness toward the eastern end of the eclipse track, though the value is so high as to invite a little suspicion which results to a very high resolution which makes it the best point to be during this time of event. There is a penalty to be paid for good weather however, as the duration of the eclipse declines to less than 20 seconds across Kenya and to less than 10 seconds in Ethiopia. For the experienced eclipse chaser in these locations, such a narrow and abrupt eclipse will come with a prominent presentation of the colorful innermost atmospheric layer of the Sun (the chromospheres) and a spectacular view along the axis of the Moon’s shadow. The total phase of a solar eclipse is very brief. This will be only seen in Kenya for 15 seconds alongside Lake Turkana on the western side of the lake. It rarely lasts more than several minutes. Nevertheless, it is considered to be one of the most awe inspiring spectacles in all of nature which is worth traveling to go see. The sky takes on an eerie twilight as the Sun's bright face is replaced by the black disk of the Moon. Surrounding the Moon is a beautiful gossamer halo. This is the Sun's spectacular sola corona a super heated plasma two million degrees in temperature. The corona can only be seen during the few brief minutes of totality which takes place near Lake Turkana in Kenya come 3rd November 2013. To witness such an event is a singularly memorable experience which cannot be conveyed adequately through words or photographs. This Actual eclipse of November 3 is the total eclipse of the sun throughout the land. Under rare circumstances, a total eclipse can change to an annular eclipse or vice versa along different sections of the eclipse path. This happen when the curvature of Earth brings different points of the path into the umbra (total) and antumbral (annular) shadows, respectively. Hybrid eclipses are sometimes called annular/total eclipses. The last hybrid eclipse was in 2005 and the next one is in 2013 and will be witnessed in Africa starting from Gabon, Congo, Uganda Kenya and finally Ethiopia. There are not too many suitable (safe) locations in Africa to view this eclipse, which should, because of the short duration of totality have excellent displays of edge phenomena such as Bailey’s Beads, the chromospheres and diamond ring. Libreville should be a good starting point for maximum (land based totality) and Lake Turkana in Kenya for a real esoteric experience. This location receives 15s of totality at 14h25UT. The hybrid eclipse is the rarest of the four types of solar eclipses. It starts as an annular eclipse, proceeds to be a total solar eclipse before becoming an annular eclipse again. It is caused when the moon passes in front of the sun and casts a shadow on the surface of the Earth. At first, the moon is not large enough to completely cover the sun. An annular solar eclipse begins. As the moon's shadow tracks across the surface of the earth, the curvature of the globe causes the surface to rise up a little. This is enough to change the event into a total solar eclipse. As the curvature of the Earth drops away again, the event becomes an annular eclipse once more. Much of the eclipse path experiences the less desirable annular eclipse. The moon is barely able to eclipse the sun so the period of totality is often quite short. Still, it does have a period of totality which makes the hybrid solar eclipse one that is worth traveling to see. The eclipse moves off quickly across Gabon, and into the Congo, and then the Democratic Republic of Congo at about 14:07 UT. Here, the path of totality has shrunk to just 36 km wide, and the total eclipse will last just 49 seconds. The path of totality then crosses northern Uganda, north-western Kenya, and southern Ethiopia. It finally ends in Somalia at 14:27 UT, with a total eclipse lasting just 7 seconds. Libreville should be a good starting point for maximum (land based totality) and Lake Turkana in Kenya for a real esoteric experience. This location receives 15s of totality at 14h25UT. At eclipse tours a solar eclipse is one of our passions - which is why we are totally committed to giving you the best possible solar eclipse tour experience. An eclipse tour has 6 years industry experience and is a reputable, knowledgeable, and efficient supplier of quality tours. Being the first time it is going to happen in Africa and in particularly in our country, we plan to give the best we can. Total solar eclipses are nevertheless rare at any particular location because totality exists only along a narrow path on the Earth's surface traced by the Moon's umbra.