Annular Solar Eclipse on June 21, 2020. What Holds for Africa?

On the 21st of this month of June, our planet Earth will witness the 3rd out of six (6) rounds of eclipses scheduled for the year 2020. The first two eclipses were lunar eclipses which occurred on January 10th and June 5th. They were both observed from Africa. The forthcoming will be a solar eclipse. The remaining three (3) will be: July 5th Lunar eclipse, November 30 Lunar eclipse and December 14 Solar eclipse.

WHAT IS A SOLAR ECLIPSE?

This occurs when the moon comes between the Sun and the Earth in such a way they become so aligned or almost aligned in a straight form.  This results in some parts of  the Earth to be partially of totally obscured from the rays of sunlight. Solar eclipses can as well be called “eclipse of the Sun” and it should be noted that it happens during new moon but not during all new moon.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

It is very dangerous to look at the sun with your naked eyes, binoculars or telescope. This Handbook and Posters (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) designed by the African Astronomical Society explains all about the eclipse and how to see it. A free android app on the eclipse has been developed by Alok Mandavgane for the Astronomical Society of India, and adapted for Africa.

A Potentially Hazardous Asteroid To Make A Flyby On Saturday (June 6) Morning.

Following the news about the transit of Asteroid 1998 OR2 on April 29, 2020. Another Asteroid dubbed Asteroid 2002 NN4 is set to make a flyby in the early morning hours of Saturday by these times according to the six (6) time zones in Africa:

GMT – 1 =  2:20 am
GMT + 0 = 3:20 am
GMT + 1=  4:20 am
GMT + 2 = 5:20 am
GMT + 3=  6:20 am
GMT + 4 = 7:20 am

Recap of important activities in the last half of 2019: ASGARD near space experiments

The Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) Nigeria with the support of the Nigerian Army, from the 10th -14th June, 2019 embarked on a trip to Brussels, Belgium with a team from the NAOWA College, Abuja for a first of its kind Space Experiment organized by the ASGARD IX program.

The experiment, which involved flying some selected Nigerian Vegetable seeds to the edge of Space through a Stratospheric Balloon in an attempt to determine the effects of the near space conditions on the seeds.

The NAOWA College team, which comprised the School Principal, a Science teacher and 5 Science students together with the Project facilitators from AWB, participated in a number of other educational activities aside the Stratospheric Balloon Experiment during their stay in Brussels, Belgium.

The AWB-Asgard Team

The team had a guided tour of MIRA Observatory, where they received a lecture from Phillipe Mollet, a MIRA Observatory Astronomer. The students also participated in a number of hands-on activities. The Observatory tour afforded the students the opportunity to see and use different kinds of Telescopes and other astronomical equipment.

The team also visited the Belgium National Museum, where they had a guided tour of the different sections of the museum, the museum visit was particularly educative as it afforded the students the opportunity of understanding the history behind some of the science-based discoveries.

The team was at the Belgium Royal Observatory, where the NAOWA College students had the opportunity of meeting with the first Belgian Astronaut, Dirk Frimout. The students made a presentation of their experiment to the astronaut and his team. There were also lectures by Astronaut Dirk Frimout and Prof. Katrien Kolenberg, a lecturer and foremost Astrophysicist from the Antwerpen University, Belgium.

The school experiment was flown to the edge of Space on a Stratospheric Balloon by the Royal Metrological Institute at their Uccle launch site.  This was the highpoint of the visit as the excited students and the team watched with amazement as balloon disappeared into the clouds bearing the school experiment.

The team also had the opportunity of visiting the Brussels Planetarium, where they received a lecture on Astronomy Education by a staff of the Planetarium. They were also taken on a guided tour of the Planetarium.

The NAOWA College students during this visit, had the opportunity of visiting the Sint-Pieterscollege, Brussels on a guided tour of the school and a visit to the science laboratories, where the students had the opportunity of having a hands-on Space experiment in the Physics laboratory with the award-winning Physics teacher and ASGARD Project Manager, Erik de Schrijver.

The experiment was returned home to be completed on the NAOWA College school farm. The AWB team will also carry out a post flight seminar that would enable the students to plant, observe and analyze the results of the effect of near space weather on the selected Nigerian food crop seeds flown to the edge of Space.

The NAOWA College team is expected to return to Brussels, April 2020 to present the results of their experiment and share their experience with other students from around the world at the next year’s ASGARD programme.

Each participating member of the team was awarded a certificate of participation jointly by the Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) Nigeria, MIRA Public Observatory, Brussels, Sterren Schitteren Voor Iedereen (SSVI), Brussels.

The Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) Nigeria, on behalf of the Team Nigeria, would like to express their profound gratitude to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the President, Nigeria Army Officers’ Wives Association (NAOWA) for making the dream of these bright Nigerian students come to pass and for affording them the opportunity of being worthy Ambassadors of our dear country.

 

 

 

Lunar Eclipse event/Mars Opposition

We had the opportunity to experience the Total Lunar eclipse on Friday, July 27, 2018. The event held at Jabi Lake Park in Abuja, Nigeria. It was interesting to see Mars at its closest to Earth in 15 years. There was heavy rainfall earlier in the day and the skies remained cloudy for the whole day. This had a negative impact on our viewing but, we had a glimpse of the eclipse for about 5 minutes till the clouds covered the moon.

Jupiter, Venus and Mars appeared brightly on our horizon per time before cloud cover took its toll. We had several visitors and enthusiasts that came over and learned about the Lunar eclipse and Mars opposition. Some of them indicated keen interest in joining our team. One People, One Sky.

Unveiling the 5 Telescopes donated by Astronomers Without Borders at Air force Girls Comprehensive School

In the evening of May 16, 2018, the AWBNigeria team went to Air force Girls Comprehensive School, Airport road to unveil the 5 Telescopes donated to the team by Astronomers Without Borders. All the students of the school were in attendance and they were excited for the opportunity to take a look at the stars. This school participated in the recently concluded Girls Astronomers Camp at Obasanjo Space Center. One of their students, Kabir Ummulkhair Hassan, won the Astronomers Quiz prize.

The students were very organized as they waited for nightfall to take a look at the stars. As they waited, the National Coordinator of AWBNigeria, Mrs. Olayinka Fagbemiro and other AWBNigeria Team members delivered Pep Talk about AWB, Astronomy, and our activities.

On our horizon was Venus, Jupiter, Sirius and Acturus. We battled with Cloud cover as it is currently Rainy season in Nigeria. Nevertheless, the students had the opportunity to take a look at the stars.

We at AWBNigeria are very grateful to Astronomers Without Borders and all the donors for making this possible. We remain committed to spreading Astronomy throughout Nigeria and demystifying the subject of Astronomy and Space Science. Thanks and God bless!

 

2018 Girls Astronomers Camp

This event held on 28 April 2018 at Obasanjo Space Center Abuja. This event was planned and organized by Astronomers Without Borders. 2018 Girls Astronomers Camp served as a maiden camp for young girls to learn about Astronomy in Nigeria. The camp program was packed with Fun and Educative activities.

The Girls camp is an OAD/IAU (Office of Astronomy for Development)/(International Astronomical Union) initiative, funded and supported by Astronomers Without Borders International (AWB), Universe Awareness (UNAWE), VIXEN Co. Ltd, National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), Milan, Italy, National Space Research & Development Agency (NASRDA). The camp aims to address the challenge of gender lopsidedness in the school enrollment focusing on the female gender in other to bridge the gap that exists between male and female children enrollment particularly across the northern part of Nigeria. Also, to encourage and motivate the girl-child in STEM education. We aim to reach thousands of school girls as we carry out these Astronomy camps in the different states across Nigeria.

The camp started by 12pm on 28 April 2018 with Registration and Red Carpet/interview sessions with the girls and accompanying guests. The National Coordinator of AWB Nigeria, Mrs. Olayinka Fagbemiro delivered a Welcome/Introductory address afterwards. Dr. Francis Chizea who represented the Director General of NASRDA gave a remark highlighting the importance of the event. The event moved on in earnest with Career Talk, Engr. Yewande Adeyeye spoke on the ‘History of Women in Space Science & Technology.’ Tea Break & Solar Glasses session followed afterwards. The Girls were excited that they could look at the Sun without getting hurt. The Editorial Chairman of ThisDay Newspaper, Mr. Segun Adeniyi, gave the girls a moral charge with his speech centered on the subject of ‘Cheating- Exam Malpractices.’ The next agenda of the camp was a STEM Quiz which comprised of 20 objective questions spread across Astronomy, Mathematics, Science and Physics. The top 3 candidates were:

  1. Kabir Ummulkhair Hassan (Airforce Girls Comprehensive School Abuja)- 1st Position
  2. Aki Jessica (Community Secondary School Asokoro)- 2nd Position
  3. Firdaus Audu (Voyage International School), Johnson Damilola (GSS Gwagwalada), Mbu Rosaparks (Blooms Academy)- 3rd Position

After the Quiz, the girls had lunch and Pep talk while eating. The Chairperson of e-Worldwide Limited, Dr. Salma Abbasi delivered the talk. She is a Technologist, Philanthropist and Social activist with over 30 years experience working in the field of technology and business, holding a variety of senior Executive positions in Fortune 500 companies. The subject of her talk was the importance of STEM. She encouraged the girls to develop interest in STEM courses and emphasized on the importance of their involvement in Science & Technology.

Hands on Activities followed the Pep Talk. There was a variety of activities in this session. The girls were put into different group to build a prototype of a Communication Satellite, Tinkering (using DC motors and Markers), Universe in a Box, Coupling a Galileoscope, Solar system modelling and the youngest girls made Paper Satellites. The session was very engaging as the Girls learnt something interesting.

Afterwards, the girls watched a movie called ‘Hidden Figures’ which depicted Girls involvement in STEM and Astronomy. Star gazing session & Barbecue ended the activities for the day. They had the opportunity to look at Venus and the Moon as they were the brightest on our horizon.

We at AWBNigeria would like to use this opportunity to thank all our Sponsors and Contributors for making this dream a reality. We remain committed to spreading Astronomy throughout Nigeria. One People, One Sky.

Star Party (April 21, 2018)

As part of the activities of the Global Astronomy Month, AWBNigeria joined other Teams around the world to have a Star Party in the evening of April 21, 2018. The event held at the ever busy Jabi Lake Park in Jabi, Abuja.

The weather was kind to us on the day because we have been experiencing cloudy weather for most periods in this month. The moon came out for the Party as well. Venus was on our horizon. The brightest stars were Venus, Spica, Sirius, Canopus, Atria, Acrux and Rigel Kentaurus. We educated a lot of interested passer by’s about Stars, Astronomy, Our goals and activities and entertained their questions. We had a celebrity guest present at the Star Party, Rear Admiral Isaac, the former Defense Space Administrator. He was actively involved as he shared his wealth of knowledge about how to use stars for navigation.

Our Vixen Telescope was the star of the day as usual. It presented us with clear visuals of the Moon, Venus and the other stars. Below is the gallery showing the activities at the Star Party.

Cloudy Yuri

Against the odds that the weather posed in the evening of April 14, we celebrated our Yuri’s night at Julius Nyerere Crescent, Asokoro. The team worked hard on their preparations and publicity prior to the event but Mother Nature had her own plans.

Regardless, we had an eventful Yuri’s night. On arrival at the venue for the event, we set up our Telescope and like a magnet it attracted many curious bystanders. They wanted to know what the Telescope could do and the purpose for the event. This created an opportunity which we used to educate them about Astronomy, Yuri Gagarin and the capability of our Telescope & Binoculars.

We had giveaway flyers that had top facts about Astronomy, Space travel and Yuri Gagarin. We also had light refreshments for our audience. The clouds made it impossible to view any stars and the moon nevertheless, curious people used it to view objects in the distance. We had a star chart in order to show people the location and names of stars. We had several people that were seeing a Telescope for the first time, Kids that were excited about Astronomy and lots of questions to answer.

It was a lovely day and another step in the right direction for AWB Nigeria. One People, One Sky.