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Time, path, duration… what to know about today’s solar eclipse

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Today, April 8, the moon will block the sun for approximately four minutes in a natural phenomenon known as a solar eclipse.

The expected eclipse is an experience many say will be one of the recent most spectacular celestial events.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said a total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth and, for a short time, completely blocks the face of the sun.

For residents of the United States, where some of the eclipse will be happening, it will particularly be a treat.

The last one was in August 2017 but an interval of seven years is unusual. The previous one before that took place in 1979, and the next one will be in 2044.

Here are some things to know about the solar eclipse.

WHY ARE ECLIPSES NOT FREQUENT?

There are different kinds of eclipses — solar, lunar, annular, partial, and hybrid.

Depending on how they align, they provide a unique, exciting view of either the sun or the moon.

While an eclipse season happens twice a year, a solar eclipse only happens occasionally, because the moon does not orbit in the same plane as the sun and earth do.

As such, people in the centre of the moon’s shadow will experience a total eclipse when it hits earth.

The sky will darken and if there is favourable weather, those located in the path of a total solar eclipse can see the sun’s corona, the outer atmosphere, which is otherwise usually obscured by the bright face of the sun.

WILL IT ONLY HAPPEN IN THE US?

Mexico’s Pacific coast is the first point of totality on the path, expected at 11:07 a.m. PT (19:07 p.m. local time) before the eclipse begins its journey across North America.

The total solar eclipse will be visible in parts of Mexico, Canada, and more than 10 US states, while a crescent-shaped partial eclipse is expected to appear in 49 other states — if the weather permits.

HOW TO VIEW SOLAR ECLIPSE

Except during the brief total phase when the moon shrouds the sun, solar viewing is not safe without specialised eye protection.

Those living in the path of totality have a front-row seat to the eclipse. However, people in a different zone can watch NASA’s live stream here.

Also, via NASA’s eclipse explorer, you can enter any US address or zip code to find out what will be visible from that location.

IMPACT ON THE PLANET (WEATHER CHANGES)

During a solar eclipse, sunlight wanes and stops heating the ground, leading to a cooling effect on the lower atmosphere. This cooling can impact various aspects of the weather, such as inducing thunderstorms in areas where it isn’t cloudy, affecting wind patterns, increasing relative humidity, and even causing clouds to dissipate, especially low-level cumulus clouds.

The eclipse’s influence on weather can be observed not only during the event but also in the aftermath, with changes in wind direction and speed being noted during and after eclipses.

HAS NIGERIA EVER EXPERIENCED A SOLAR ECLIPSE?

Nigeria has experienced a total solar eclipse in the past. The most recent total solar eclipse in Nigeria occurred on March 29, 2006, and lasted for about four minutes.

The eclipse was visible in parts of the country, including Benue, Katsina, Zamfara, Jigawa, and Oyo.

The next total solar eclipse in Nigeria is expected to occur in 2034.

World

Three Americans among suspects arrested for coup attempt in DR Congo

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Three Americans have been reportedly listed among suspects responsible for Sunday’s coup attempt in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Sylvain Ekenge, DRC army spokesperson, said the attempt involved “foreigners and Congolese”.

“These foreigners and Congolese have been put out of action, including their leader,” Ekenge said, adding that several suspects were detained and that the situation is now under control.

The army spokesperson did not provide further information concerning the incident.

Lucy Tamyln, US ambassador to the DRC, said she was shocked and very concerned to receive reports of American citizens being involved.

Pictures of two men with their hands clasped were published in local media, alongside pictures of a passport that indicated one was a 36-year-old US citizen born in Maryland.

“Please be assured that we will cooperate with the DRC authorities to the fullest extent as they investigate these criminal acts and hold accountable any U.S. citizen involved in criminal acts,” Tamlyn tweeted.

The army’s announcement of successfully thwarting a coup attempt came hours after armed men attacked the house of Vital Kamerhe, former chief of staff and close ally of President Felix Tshisekedi.

Kamerhe’s residence is about two kilometres from the presidential palace.
Michel Muhima, Kamerhe’s spokesperson, had said the gunmen clad in military uniform engaged the politician’s guards in a shootout, leaving three people dead.

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Iran vice president to replace Raisi ahead of election

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Iran’s first vice president, Mohammad Mokhber, is expected to assume the presidency after Ebrahim Raisi’s death in a helicopter crash as the country gears up for early elections.

The Iranian constitution stipulates that the first vice president take over “in the event of the president’s death, dismissal, resignation, absence or illness for more than two months”.

Raisi, who died on Sunday along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other officials, was nearing the end of his first four-year term as president.

Mokhber’s interim appointment requires the approval of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final word in all state affairs.

Presidential elections to pick a permanent successor are to be held within 50 days, according to the constitution.

A council made up of the parliament speaker, head of the judiciary and the vice president are to be tasked with organising the national vote.

Mokhber, 68, was appointed vice president as Raisi took office in August 2021.

The vice president was born in Dezful city in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, where he held several official positions.

For years since 2007, Mokhber chaired the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order, a governmental organisation tasked with managing properties confiscated following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The foundation, established in the 1980s, has over the years grown to become a major state economic conglomerate with shares in various sectors.

Iranians head to the polls for presidential elections every four years since the Islamic Republic’s first vote in 1980.

The constitution sets a two-term limit for Iranian presidents.

The position of prime minister does not exist in Iran, and the president — assisted by several vice presidents — is responsible for appointing and directing the cabinet.

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JUST IN: Iranian president Raisi confirmed dead in helicopter crash

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has been confirmed dead in a helicopter crash.

The chopper, which also had Hossein Amirabdollahian, foreign minister; Malek Rahmati, governor of East Azarbaijan province; and Hojjatoleslam Al Hashem, Tabriz Friday prayer leader onboard, crash-landed Sunday afternoon in the Varzaqan region.

Search and rescue teams scoured the mountainous terrain amid heavy fog overnight, and found the wreckage early Monday.

Raisi, 63, was elected president on his second attempt in 2021.

He was regarded as a potential successor to Ayatollah Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader, who has held the position since 1989.

In 2019, Khamenei appointed Raisi as head of the judiciary.

Raisi was also deputy chairman of the Assembly of Experts — the 88-member clerical body responsible for electing the next supreme leader.

State media report that the Iranian government held an emergency meeting after the president and some members of the cabinet were confirmed dead on Monday.

Vice President Mohammad Mokhber led the emergency meeting.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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