The display of solar eclipse presented an amazing educative session for students from various schools in Kigali who gathered at the University of Rwanda’s College of Education, yesterday.
The partial solar eclipse was visible in Rwanda, across central Africa, Middle East and some other parts of the world.
During its occurence, Dr Phenias Nkundabakura, a specialist in astronomy taught students about solar eclipse, noting that it was a scientific phenomenon.
“Solar eclipses happen when the moon moves between the sun and earth, blocking the sun’s disk and casting a shadow on earth,” he explained.
He told students that the moon is not a primary source of light and is opaque.
The angular diameter of the moon is almost equal to the angular diameter of the sun, and during the solar eclipse process, the event allows for the viewing of the atmosphere of the sun, according to Nkundabakura.
Speaking to the media, Nkundabakura said the incident offered the perfect opportunity to explain to students the phenomenon of eclipses.
“Explaining scientific facts about eclipses as students watch and follow the succession of changes helps them to know the truth about science and its experiments,” he said.
Diana Kabasinga, a Senior Three student at Saint Paul International School, said she had learned about the solar and moon eclipses, and types of eclipse; partial, annular and total eclipses.
“I’m excited because I have been studying them theoretically, and I had never seen them, so today I have seen it live and I can even explain to those who have not got a chance to witness this incredible incident,” she said.
“I have even got some lectures about the disadvantages of looking at the sun directly which can cause blindness,” she added.
Cedrick Migambi, another student, said the knowledge he acquired by witnessing the occurence of the eclipse will help him understand better what he had been studying in class about eclipses.
Migambi said it was a chance to learn more about the things that happen in the universe.
“I cannot say that it is the beginning of my journey to study astronomy but it was an opportunity that opened my mind to questions on the nature of everything that are not easily seen,” he said.
Jean Pierre Twagirayezu, a Physics teacher at Saint Paul International School, said it was an interesting opportunity for both students and science teachers to view the solar eclipse.
“It is complicated to teach sciences to students who haven’t got some experience about certain things, but when you are telling them what they have seen, it becomes easier, so we are glad this is happening,” he said.
According to Nkundabakura, the solar eclipse occurred at the time it was expected, from 8:45am to 12:22pm.
Nkundabakura said that 2000 eclipse glasses were distributed in different schools with about 10,000 students hoped to have got the opportunity to watch safely the solar eclipse.
People are warned not to look directly into the sun for long time with naked eyes, or use smoked glasses, colour film, sun glasses and polarising filters as they are not safe.
According to Nkundabakura, before yesterday, the previous solar eclipse to have been seen in Rwanda was in November 2013.