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The day was much darker than usual in the UAE as the much awaited partial solar eclipse blocked over 80 per cent of the sun.
Residents in the UAE can watch live streaming of the first solar eclipse of the year from the International Astronomical Centre (IAC).
The epic occurrence got underway around 8.14am and is expected to peak at 9.36am. The spectacular show is scheduled to complete by 11.12am when the moon will fully complete its path across the sun.
An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon is located between the Earth and the Sun, and its apparent diameter is slightly smaller than the apparent diameter of the sun.
The centre is warning people against looking directly into the sun during the eclipse without using special sunglasses with special filters.
Amiel Baluch, 24, and his friend Yoana Zaneva stood outside a high-rise in JLT, Dubai, peering at the sun through eclipse glasses.
“We are just waiting for the peak,” said Mr Baluch, an account manager from the Netherlands. “I assumed there was going to be a massive shadow”. Raed and Jad Shatnawi, a Jordanian father and son, stood by the steps of the building next door. “It’s too bright,” said Jad, 14. “For me, my first eclipse was here, in 1999,” his father said. “People were afraid. The streets were empty, it was like a lockdown”.
The solar eclipse also coincides with the official start of the summer, marking the ‘solstice summer eclipse’. The last time such an event of this kind happened was on June 21, 2001, but even then, the solar eclipse was a total eclipse and not an annular one that recreates the Ring of Fire effect.
Hasan Al Hariri, chief executive officer of the Dubai Astronomy Group, advised the public to observe this celestial event by taking all necessary precautions. He said that this is an opportunity for us to understand the dynamics of space and movement of objects surrounding the earth. This level of coverage of the solar disk is not going to happen until the next 25 years.
Al Hariri urged the public to use high quality solar eclipse glasses to observe the celestial event.
During the eclipse, people must refrain from looking directly into the sun without using special sunglasses with special filters.
“The northern regions of the Arabian Peninsula will see 60 per cent coverage of the Sun, and it will also be seen in the rest of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and other regions in Asia in varying proportions,” said Ibrahim Al Jarwan, member of the Arab Union for Space and Astronomy.