Residents watch lunar eclipse till wee hours

ABU DHABI/DUBAI - Several UAE residents flocked to astronomy clubs and parks and stayed up till the wee hours of Sunday to witness the partial lunar eclipse which was visible in the country.

By Our Staff Reporters

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Published: Tue 19 Aug 2008, 1:37 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:07 PM

Despite being a partial eclipse, astronomers said 90 per cent of the moon was eclipsed in the over five-hour activity. Hasan Ahmed Al Hariri, president of Dubai Astronomy Group, said, 'Nearly 90 per cent of the moon was covered. The moon entered the half shadow around 10.30pm and the full shadow area at 11.24pm. The eclipse continued till 3am.'

Over 90 residents, expatriates and nationals, joined the Dubai Astronomy Group at Mamzar Lagoon to watch the eclipse through telescopes, arranged by the members. Al Hariri said the turnout was high and lots of people had come to observe the eclipse, which was clearly visible to the human eye in the Middle East, China, Europe and parts of Africa.

'Many people gathered around telescopes in Mamzar Park. For the first time, we had several Emiratis, including children,' he said.

Ahmed Mohammed Al Khuzae, a Grade XI student in Dubai, described the few hours as 'magical'. 'It was amazing to see the earth shadow the moon. I was quite excited about the eclipse and came alone to watch it because I like astronomy. I had in fact even joined the group to witness the recent meteor shower,' said the student.

Vidya Gopalakrishnan, resident of Dubai, said, 'It was a beautiful sight. The moon had a reddish tinge after the eclipse. We were able to see Jupiter and four of its moons. I enjoyed gazing through the telescopes.' She added that there were no superstitions attached to a lunar eclipse and it had no adverse effects if seen by the naked eye, contrary to popular beliefs.

Mobile observatory sites in the capital also saw several people turn up to watch the celestial event. Mobile observatories were placed at the Breakwater and opposite Abu Dhabi Marina Mall as people watched through sophisticated telescopic machines, which were made available by the Emirates Mobile Observatory and Takatuf, the volunteer wing of Emirates Foundation.

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