Oman experiences rare solar eclipse

MUSCAT: Oman is to experiencing the annular solar eclipse on Sunday.

The solar eclipse was witnessed from Bahla, Samad al Shan, Qurayyat, and Manah. The total duration of the solar eclipse was 3 hours and 6 minutes, according to Falakoman.

 

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The narrow annular path is passing through some of the regions of Oman.

Abdulwahab al Busaidy, member of the Oman Astronomical Society, said, “We are so lucky to have this and even if you are in Suhar or Salalah and anywhere in Al Wusta region, you would be able to experience 85 to 90 per cent eclipse.  In Muscat there will be an experience of 96%.”

A distinct feature of the annular eclipse is the ‘ring of fire’ or the ring of light that appears as the moon faces the sun and comes between the earth and the sun.

“Hundreds of astrophotographers in Oman have stationed themselves at strategic locations to capture the moment,” added Al Busaidy.

Mohammed al Battashi, member of OAS explained the campaign that started 12 months ago to alert the community by increasing awareness, gain knowledge and most importantly enjoy the event.

“Last December we had arranged a camp.  This time it will be a virtual broadcast.  The eclipse will cover most of the continents except the Americas but annular path is narrow and this line in Oman passes through South of Bahla, Manah, Samad Al Shan, South of Izki, Tayeen, Quriyat and exit from Sifah,” said Al Battashi.

The OAS had been distributing safety glasses and distributed brochures on the best photography techniques for best shots (with special filters) of the sun covered by moon.

SAFETY FIRST

“It is extremely important not to look at the eclipse with the naked eyes as it can cause permanent damage to the eyes,” warned AL Busaidy adding, “Astrophotographers have special filters and others have solar eclipse glasses.  It is available in the market, but please do not use the ordinary sunglasses.”

There have been arrangements made for live coverage of the celestial experience in the social media.

On Sunday, June 21, 2020, Oman will witness an annular eclipse that starts at 8.14 am, peaking at 9.38 and ends at 11.20am Muscat time, and there could be slight differences in other parts of Oman.

The OAS insists on practicing with the safe astronomy equipment and supervise as well as train children prior to the eclipse.  Check the solar filters and glasses before using them ensuring they are free from any scratches or damages.

“If you wear eye glasses wear the eclipse glasses on top of them before looking at the sky.  Do not remove the eclipse glasses while viewing the sun directly.  Do not look at the sun through any optical devices unequipped with a special filter and not to use eclipse glasses to the see the sun through any optical device and do not attempt to look at the sun wearing two ordinary sun glasses,” said the statement from OAS.

The wrong methods could cause blurry vision, difficulty in distinguishing colours, and sensitivity to light, pain, wavy or distorted vision, headache and blind spots in vision.  If any of these symptoms persist one is to get doctor’s assistance immediately.