Dubai: People gazed at the dark sky Wednesday night, watching in silence as the moon slowly began to disappear, to watch the second longest lunar eclipse of the century.
They watched in silence as the moon slowly began to disappear from the night sky.
The longest eclipse will appear in 2018 and it be will only three minutes longer than Wednesday's eclipse.
The Dubai Astronomy Group had set up telescopes at a school in Deira and scores of people turned up braving the extreme humid night to watch the event.
The bright ball in the sky started turning black from its lower bottom end and looked like someone had taken a huge bite out of it.
Gitanjali had come to this school all the way from Karama to watch the eclipse with her two children. Her son Harshit, a seventh grade student is good in science, she said. The Indian expatriate mother said she does not believe in superstitions. “I wouldn’t be here if I did,” she said.
A short prayer in Arabic was heard over the school’s loudspeakers. “There is no superstition associated with the Lunar Eclipse,” said Hassan Ahmad Al Hariri, president of the Astronomy Group, which had made arrangements for special prayers during the eclipse.
But he had earlier told Gulf News that Muslims offer prayers at the time of the eclipse and other natural phenomenon.
The eclipse started at 10.30pm and within a few minutes half of the Moon disappeared. The event was so awe inspiring that even children lined up silently to watch the Moon fade away, through the telescopes.
Large number of people came out from their houses and many others headed to the beaches and desert to view the rare celestial party. Many motorists stopped their cars on the side of the road to watch the moon disc turn black and orange.
A lunar eclipse occurs when Earth lines up directly between the Sun and the Moon, blocking the Sun’s rays and casting a shadow on the Moon.
Ali Zalzala, an Armenian, and his wife Laura had also turned up at the school. He said he had registered with the Dubai Astronomy Group and came to know of the event.
The eclipse ended around 1am. The lunar eclipse was visible from across the globe, except the US and Canada, according to astronomers.
According to the Astronomy Group ancient records of an eclipse were made in China and Babylonia. The oldest record of a lunar eclipse was made more than 4,000 years ago.