Muscat: The Ministry of Tourism is set to bring a unique scientific tourism experience to local and international tourists as the 2019 annular eclipse phenomenon is set to occur in the Sultanate. The Ministry has partnered with the Oman Astronomical Society (OAS), which has been working with various institutions including the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Public Authority for Radio and Television, and Photographic Society of Oman, among other relevant government and private institutions, to record one of the rarest astronomical phenomena to take place over skies of Oman by the end of this year.
The Annular Eclipse 2019 project aims to hold an event where people can observe the phenomenon which will happen on the morning of December 26, 2019 (Thursday). The national event will be organized by the authorities, considering it to be one of the most awaited events this year by residents.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs, the Oman Astronomical Society will organize mass observation activities in various governorates of the Sultanate in addition to the annular eclipse camp to be set up in Ras al-Ruwais (Al Wusta), which will be equipped with many astronomical telescopes equipped with solar filters. The Society will also organize a special astronomical camp for those with hearing disabilities in cooperation with the Oman Association for the Hearing Impaired. To enable all segments of society to watch this rare phenomenon, the Society will announce sites for mass viewing across the country.
Anwar al Balushi, director of tourism events at the Ministry of Tourism, said, “We are delighted to cooperate with the Oman Astronomical Society and other key organizations in the preparation of the program for the annular eclipse phenomenon. This initiative brings Oman to the forefront of tourism for promoting scientific events in line with our efforts to strengthen the nation’s position as a key global destination. Holding this event seeks to raise awareness among individuals about the solar eclipse and inform them about the Sultanate’s capabilities in safely watching this phenomenon through organized activities in various governorates of the Sultanate, as well as in astronomical camps located in the path of the annular eclipse.”
“Through this project, we look forward to providing a unique experience for residents and visitors, in addition to encouraging researchers and scientific institutions to establish research and scientific studies related to the solar eclipse phenomenon. We are confident that the efforts made to advance scientific research and promote them through scientific tourism will contribute to building generations of astronomy enthusiasts as well as astronomers who will enhance Oman’s cultural and scientific abilities in the field and further develop skillsets in space monitoring,” Al Balushi added.
Ali al Shaibani, vice chairman of the OAS and project supervisor said: “The annular eclipse phenomenon is one of the rarest natural phenomena that deserve to be watched. Oman’s share of the annular eclipse will be abundant as the sun will look like a ring in the governorates of Al Dhahirah, Al Dakhyliyah, Al Wusta, and Al Sharqiyyah South, along with the possibility of viewing a partial eclipse in the rest of the Sultanate’s central and southeastern region. The solar eclipse will continue for about two hours and 29 minutes in Oman while the annular eclipse will last for about 3 minutes in the areas located along the path of the annular eclipse.”
The Annular Eclipse Project 2019 is viewed to contribute to promoting one of the goals under Oman Vision 2040 of bringing together various sectors to promote the Sultanate’s distinctive tourism features at the local, regional and international levels, attracting thousands of people from around the world to come to Oman for the event. The initiative is set to generate business for the tourism sector and bring economic benefits to the Sultanate.
The Annular Eclipse Project includes several programs and events, which include a major promotional campaign for the Sultanate of Oman in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism. There will also be an awareness campaign regarding the safe methods of watching the solar eclipse in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, which will educate various members of society on ways to protect their eyes while watching the phenomenon. In coordination with the Ministry of Education, there will also be an educational program to promote astronomy among students. An exhibition of astronomical photography 2020 will be held in partnership with the Photographic Society of Oman to encourage photographers to take photographs during the solar eclipse phenomenon and show the beauty of Oman, as well as encourage research and scientific studies of a solar eclipse to several colleges and universities.