Solar Eclipse: Health Ministry Issues Warning

Uganda is one of the privileged countries that will witness the total and partial eclipse on Sunday November 3rd in the northern part of the country.

The world is expected to view the hybrid solar eclipse on November 3rd and the best viewing location is in Owiny primary school in Pakwach, Nebbi district.

The world is expected to view the hybrid solar eclipse on November 3rd and the best viewing location is in Owiny primary school in Pakwach, Nebbi district.
The world is expected to view the hybrid solar eclipse on November 3rd and the best viewing location is in Owiny primary school in Pakwach, Nebbi district.

Uganda’s Ministry of Health has issued an alert to the public of the few likely dangers to health that come along with such viewing.

The solar eclipse will pass over West, Central and East Africa, with Uganda having the best viewing sights. The partial eclipse will begin just after 4pm and end at 6:27pm. The total eclipse when the moon is closest to the centre of the sun will, however, last for 2 minutes at 5:23pm.

Below is the message from the Ministry of Health

As we warm up to enjoy this spectacular moment, the Ministry of Health would like to alert the public of the few likely dangers to health that come along with such viewing.When a person looks at the sun without wearing a proper protection for the eyes, the radiation from the sun can cause serious damage leading to permanent blindness. The effect of the damage to the eye may be realised several hours later since there is no pain associated with this kind of damage to the eyes.

WHO IS AT RISK?

Everybody who will view the solar eclipse with naked eyes is at risk of damaging his/her eyes. Children and young adults aged below 20 years are at greater risk because the lens in their eyes is not able to filter most of the dangerous light.

WHEN IS IT SAFE TO VIEW THE ECLIPSE?

It is not advisable to view partial or total solar eclipse without proper protection for the eyes. The only time that the Sun can be viewed safely with the naked eye is during a very short period of time, about 2 minutes, when the Moon completely covers the Sun and one should immediately look away the moment the first rays of the sun begin to appear at the edge of the moon.

WHAT EQUIPMENT CAN FILTER THESE SUN RAYS?

The public is warned not to use the following items for viewing the solar eclipse because they do not offer adequate protection from the dangerous radiation that damages the eyes:

• colour film

• black-and-white film that contains no silver

• photographic negatives with images on them

• smoked glass• sunglasses• photographic neutral density filters

• Polarizing filters

• Binoculars and telescopesDo not view the eclipse through a mirror or water in a basin because the sun rays will be directly reflected straight into the eye with the same intensity.The safest devices to use for protecting the eyes are solar viewers with aluminized polyester.

Though not entirely (100%) safe to use, the following locally available filters may be used to view the eclipse:• Welders’ glasses

• pin-hole cameras• negatives without images used as double layers

• pin holes (made by passing a pin through a hard paper or cardboard)

• black kaveera (polythene bag)

• compact discs

• floppy discsParents, Teachers and the general public are advised to closely supervise children and students and ensure they have some level of protection when viewing the solar eclipse to avoid permanent damage to their eyes

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