Scientists from around the world are converging on Kenya, Mauritania and other african countries in the path of a total eclipse of the sun on 30 June, 1973.
AERIAL V..Lake Rudolf
GV & SV Scientists unpack and set up equipment (3 shots)
MV Mrs. Mattei looks through camera box
SV Scientists check other equipment
SV AERIAL TILT TO native huts
GV Scientists showing tribesmen equipment
CU Sign on box 'solar eclipse 73' TILT UP to Dr. Curtis explaining equipment (4 shots)
SV Tribesman shows equipment (2 shots)
SV ZOOM TO CU tribesmen look at pamphlet explaining eclipse
CU & SV Tribesmen and children look at sky through filters (2 shots)
Initials ES. 1359 ES. 1417
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Scientists from around the world are converging on Kenya, Mauritania and other african countries in the path of a total eclipse of the sun on 30 June, 1973.
The eclipse will occur when the moon passes in front of the sun. It will appear black with a halo of soft light around it. The total eclipse will last about seven minutes, in which time scientists will gather information in conditions they say are unlikely to occur for another 213 years.
The best observation zone will be a 125-mile (200 kilometres) north-south band from the Atlantic coast of Mauritania across West africa to Chad, in the centre of the continent, and across to kenya.
In Kenya, a team of eighty United States scientists and technicians have set up experiment workshops on the shores of Lake Rudolf at Loiengalani.
This group alone -- sponsored by the Unites States National Science Foundation -- is spending 600,000 US dollars to cover the eclipse, apart from the cost of scientific equipment.
There'll be similar observations in Mauritania, where the solar eclipse will occur earlier in the day. In Kenya, the black-out will be at four o'clock in the afternoon. Scientists will also study its effect on birds and animals.
To many tribes in Kenya, an eclipse is a bad omen. Some of the El Molo, the small tribe of fishing people who live in grass huts around Lake Rudolf, are suspicious of the influx of scientists. Others have been assisting the researchers in their preparations.
Warnings about viewing the eclipse directly have been widely publicised -- medical authorities say serious damage could be caused to the eyes without the viewer realising it.
SYNOPSIS: On the shores of Kenya's Lake Rudolf, a team of eighty United States scientists and technicians is preparing for a rare opportunity to observe a total eclipse of the sun on the thirtieth of June. For about seven minutes, the moon will black out the sun's rays.
Scientists have positioned equipment along an observation zone 125-miles wide, stretching from West Africa to Kenya. The clear skies in the region will give o servers viewing conditions they say are unlikely to recur for another 213 years.
Radio communications in the Loiengalan camp at Lake Rudolf will link scientists with observers in Mauritania and back to the United States.
This group alone -- sponsored by the United States National Science Foundation -- is spending 600,000 dollars to cover the total eclipse. Doctor George Curtis of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research is one of the key observers in Kenya. As well as studying the eclipse itself, scientists want to see its effect on animal life.
To many tribes in Kenya, an eclipse is considered a bad omen. Some of the El Molo, a small tribe of fishing people living around Lake Rodolf, are suspicious of the influx of foreign scientists.
Authorities on Kenya have been warning local villagers about the danger of looking directly at the solar eclipse. They say it could cause serious eye damage.
Some tribesmen have been given film strips by the Americans to allow them to view the eclipse.