Graphic: Ansar Saleem
Jamil Khan, Senior Reporter
Residents in the UAE will witness a rare celestial phenomenon on the morning of 21 June: a partial solar eclipse. This will be marked by an 86.31% coverage of the disc of the sun by the moon that will be visible in the UAE sky.
It will begin at 08:14:47 local time when the moon will begin moving in front of the sun. The eclipse will be over at 11:12:04.
Hasan Al Hariri, CEO Dubai Astronomy Group, advises the public to observe this amazing celestial event with precautions. He says this is an opportunity for us to understand the space science and movement of objects surrounding the earth. This level of coverage of solar disc will not be seen in the next 25 years.
Image only for representation
Safety and Precautions: Hasan Al Hariri appeals to everyone to use high-quality solar eclipse glasses while observing the solar eclipse, because it is the safest and easiest way to observe the sun during an eclipse.
He warned that the sun is very bright and emits intensive light, which is too much for our eyes. So, if we look at it without protection our eyesight will be damaged. He also added that the eclipse cannot be viewed by using a welder’s mask, candle wax smeared on glass, car tinting film or through the reflection in water or any other unscientific method. Many incidents occurred after the last solar eclipse in December 2019, where people didn’t care about their protection and the result was disastrous. In India, Rajasthan, several schoolchildren damaged their retinas, fully and partially, by observing the solar eclipse without proper protection. "So, please be much more careful than the last event because this time, the eclipse will start at 08:14am, when most of the public already will be outside or maybe on the way to office."
Hasan Al Hariri added that another method to observe the solar eclipse without glasses is to project the image of the moon passing in front of the sun through a telescope on a white sheet. This is ideal for group observation. "But all the parts of the telescope should be metallic, particularly the eyepiece and don’t look into the eyepiece as that will surely blind you."
One of Dubai Astronomy Group representatives informed that ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses are available at Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre for Dhs20 and on amazon.ae. The Dubai Astronomy Group is also organising a public event with limited seats with all the precautions and social distancing. He also informed that the Dubai Astronomy Group will also telecast live the viewing of the solar eclipse from Dubai and many other cities of the world.
Hasan Al Hariri outright rejected the hoax messages and theories about the Mayan calendar and misfortunes related with the upcoming solar eclipse or any type of eclipse.
• View the solar eclipse only through solar eclipse glasses made specifically for safe solar viewing.
• Use only quality filters on telescopes, always put the filters on the telescope to cover the eclipse observation.
• Use only metallic body telescopes and eyepieces to observe the eclipse. Don't use the plastic ones.
• Don't ever look at the sun without proper eye protection.
• Don't view the sun through sunglasses of any type (single or multiple pairs), or filters made from photographic film or any combination of photographic filters, crossed polarisers or gelatin filters, CDs, CD-ROMs, X-Ray films or smoked glass. None of these are safe.
• Don't fit any filter to a telescope without FIRST checking it thoroughly for damage. If it is scuffed, scratched, has pinholes in it, or you have any other doubt about it at all, DON'T use it.
• Don't use binoculars or any viewing device to observe the eclipse.
• To repeat again, if you are not certain that a filter is approved and safe, or you have any other doubts, DON'T USE IT.
The total duration of the eclipse is 5 hours, 34 minutes, starting from 22:43 of 16th July to 04:17 of 17th July.
Depending on weather conditions, this year's astronomical phenomenon was set to be visible from the Middle East across southern India and Southeast Asia before ending over the northern Pacific.
Skywatchers from Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, India and southern China were treated to a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse on Sunday.
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