Rare astronomical phenomenon approaching Oman’s sky on December 26

Muscat: Oman Astronomical Society is preparing for the annular solar eclipse phenomenon (December 26) with several events and programmes that are part of the 2019 annular eclipse project.

A rare astronomical phenomenon is approaching Oman’s sky by the end of this year. The Oman Astronomical Society (OAS) has launched programmes and activities of the Annular Solar Eclipse Project 2019. This project was launched in collaboration with the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Research Council, the Public Authority of Radio and Television, the Photographic Society of Oman and several related private and government entities. This project is part of the community readiness to observe and photograph the astronomical phenomenon known as the Annular Eclipse which will take place during the sunrise on Thursday, December 26.

Ali al Shaibani, Vice Chairman of the OAS and project supervisor said in a statement, “The Annular Solar Eclipse phenomenon is considered a rare natural phenomenon that is very fascinating to watch. A number of the Sultanate’s governorates will witness the significant phenomenon of the Annular Eclipse in which the sun will appear in a ring-like shape. The governorates that will experience the phenomenon are Al Dhahirah, Al Dakhyliyah, Al Wusta, and Al Sharqiyyah South. A partial solar eclipse will be seen in the other governorates of the Sultanate. The eclipse will last for about 2 hours and 29 minutes in Oman, while the Annular Eclipse will last for 3 minutes in the areas located on the path of the Annular Solar Eclipse,” Al Shaibani added.

Al Shaibani continued, “The project aims to make Oman one of the best sites to watch the Annular Solar Eclipse in 2019 and to promote scientific tourism in Oman. It also aims to educate all social groups in the community about the solar eclipse and to offer the proper tools to safely observe the eclipse. This project will also enable the public to participate in observing the eclipse and taking pictures of it through attending eclipse observation events organized all around Oman. In addition, there are going to be some astronomical camps in several locations on the path of the Annular Solar Eclipse, where the observers will have a special experience that will leave them inspired, taken by the beauty and in awe. Moreover, this project targets researchers and scientific entities to encourage them to conduct researches and studies on solar eclipse and to create a new generation of astronomers and amateurs. This all boils down to lifting the cultural and scientific bar in the astronomy field in Oman, in addition to enhancing astronomical observation skills on a national level,” Al Shaibani pointed out.

This project is supported by OMRAN Group, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), Oman Liquefied Natural Gas (Oman LNG), Oman Broadband and Oman Data Park. It entails several events and activities, most importantly the campaign promoting tourism in Oman, which is executed in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism. Another important programme is the awareness campaign on how to safely observe the eclipse in collaboration with the Ministry of Health to educate people in the community about safe methods to observe the solar eclipse. There is also an educational programme to spread astronomical awareness, and this programme targets school students in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

In addition, the 2020 Astronomical Photography Exhibition will take place in collaboration with the Photographic Society of Oman to encourage photographers to capture the eclipse and showcase Oman’s diverse beauty. The project will also feature studies and researches from different colleges and universities conducted on the eclipse phenomenon. Moreover, the OAS will organize public observation activities in collaboration with the the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs in different locations around the country and an Annular Eclipse Camp in Ras Al Ruways with several telescopes equipped with solar filters. The OAS will also organize an astronomical camp for people with hearing disabilities in collaboration with the Omani Association for the People with Hearing Disabilities. The OAS will announce the locations of the community observation activities that will take place all around the country.

“The Annular Eclipse Project will contribute towards achieving one of the goals of the 2040 Vision. Specifically, the goal of executing high-quality international tourism events, and elevating Oman’s status on a local, regional and international level in terms of tourist attractions, and uniquely diverse natural elements that can attract thousands of tourists annually. In addition to tourists, it aims to attract Omanis, residents and people visiting Oman during the time of the event to achieve economic benefits for Oman and people who work in the tourism sector,” Al Shaibani added.

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