Later this year, on the 3rd of November, there will be a Solar eclipse which will pass across the Atlantic ocean, across Africa and end in Somalia. The eclipse is actually termed a hybrid eclipse, because it starts as annular (where the Moon is a little further from the Earth and so does not block out all of the Sun), but changes to a total eclipse during the event, as the distance between the Moon and the Earth gets less. The figure below shows the path of the eclipse.
I am part of a planned expedition to go and see the eclipse in Kenya. The expedition is run by the International Space Schools Education Trust (ISSET – a registered UK charity), and is part of their Astronaut Leadership Experience. I will go as the trip’s astronomy expert, and in addition to Chris Barber of ISSET, who will organise and lead the expedition, there will be two people from NASA, Ken Ham who has commanded Space Shuttle missions, and his wife Michelle who is an astronaut trainer.
The path of the eclipse in Kenya is shown in the figure below, it passes right across Lake Turkana which is in the northern part of Kenya near its borders with Uganda and Ethiopia and South Sudan.
This area is very beautiful and very interesting. It is part of the Great Rift Valley, and on its shores Lucy was found, the oldest humanoid ever discovered. Lake Turkana also boasts a volcanic island, which is shown in one of the slides below. The plan is to fly to Kenya on the 26th of October, and go up to the Lake Turkana region towards the end of the week for the eclipse, which is on the 3rd. Before going to the north, we will go to the Masai Mara National Park, Mount Kenya (which straddles the equator), and explore more areas of the Great Rift Valley.
The trip is open to anyone; to find out the costs and day-by-day itinerary you can visit the website here. The costs include return (round trip) flights to Kenya, and all accommodation, food and transport whilst in Kenya. If it is anything like the week we spent in the Gobi Desert in June for the Transit of Venus, it will be a truly memorable week full of activity, learning, exploration and fun.