Thousands of residents gathered on Thursday early morning in various parts of the country to witness the rare annular solar eclipse - the last one of the decade. And sky gazers were in for a visual treat as past 7.30 am they could witness the 'ring of fire'. People, especially youngsters, were excited after watching the annular solar phenomenon - visible in the UAE for the first time since 1847.
"This is awesome. I haven't ever seen anything like this. This is once in a lifetime opportunity and I didn't want to miss this," Fatima Al Jaberi, a student of Emirates National School, said at Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi. Sara Al Muhairi is interested in astronomy and felt such experiences form her learning curve. "I like the study of celestial objects. I want to major in astronomy. I follow the Instagram account on Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and the UAE Space Agency for latest updates in this field. I came to know about this event a month ago and waited for this moment." Farah Qasim, a teenager, said such events were also about bringing the diverse group of people together. "This is great that Abu Dhabi Government has given us a chance to see this phenomenon. This is one more event which has brought together all community members at one place. Overall it was an interesting experience."
'Eclipse myths debunked' The astronomical event at Marina Mall was organised by UAE Space Agency in collaboration with Emirates Mobile Observatory. And hundreds of residents gathered outside the mall from 6 am onwards to see the spectacle through specialised solar telescopes. Public was also provided with free of cost sunglasses to watch the eclipse. And for some, this was also an opportunity to debunk the myths surrounding solar eclipse. Namrata Harish and her bother Hardik had heard 'stories' about solar eclipse and wanted to convince themselves that it was just a rare visual spectacle. "There are lots of myths surrounding solar eclipse. Like you are not supposed to eat, keep cooked food in the house, pray while seeing the eclipse to ward off negative energy and more. There are lots of things we have heard but we feel this is nothing but a beautiful celestial event," Namrata said. "I had never seen an eclipse. This was fascinating and scary at the same time. The sight is fascinating but I have also heard stories about solar eclipse. After watching this I am no longer scared," Hardik said. firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't watch with naked eyes . Watching the annular solar eclipse with naked eyes could damage the eyes and even cause blindness . Observers should use proper equipment to view the event and visit qualified astronomy centres The annular phase will only be visible from Liwa.