Solar spectacle thrills residents

DUBAI/ABU DHABI - More than 100 residents of the UAE turned out for an astronomy group's event to watch a partial solar eclipse on Friday afternoon.

By Zoe Sinclair And Adel Arafah

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Published: Sun 3 Aug 2008, 1:34 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:59 PM

They donned special glasses and peered through the glass roof of the GEMS Wellington International School in Dubai throughout the afternoon.

The event, hosted by Dubai Astronomy Group, began with a lecture by group president Hasan Ahmad Al Hariri.

Budding astronomers then took in the phenomenon on a screen relaying images from a high-powered telescope.

Al Hariri said the eclipse began exactly on time at 2.41pm, peaked at 3.28pm and finished at 4.11pm.

It was the first time Bryle Gonzonga and his younger brother Jeif had seen an eclipse. 'It was wonderful. It is the first time I have seen it and I really like the big telescope,' Bryle said.

Keith Smith said the event was worthwhile for a weekend activity. 'If you've never seen it before, it's definitely good to see a partial eclipse. Most people didn't even know it was on.'

Simon Cryer said the organisation's set-up was made for a professional but relaxed activity. 'It was very good, a good set-up. It's great that you can do this kind of thing in Dubai.'

A large group of officials and residents also gathered in Abu Dhabi, the UAE Astronomy Society, at a viewing point on the breakwater near the UAE flag pole.The phases of the eclipse developed

slowly until about 13 per cent was overshadowed.

Engineer Mohammed Shawkat Ouda, rapporteur of the society and chairman of the Islamic Crescents Monitoring Project, said the eclipse was a result of the moon passing between the earth and the sun, obscuring the sun's disc. Ouda said such an occurrence was infrequent as the moon often passed either below or above the sun.

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