Dubai: Even if you’re not an enthusiastic stargazer, the upcoming lunar and solar eclipse will undoubtedly capture your interest.
Speaking to Gulf News, Ibrahim Al Jarwan, member of the Arab Union for Space and Astronomy, explained that UAE residents will be able to witness two astronomical phenomena this June, consisting of a lunar eclipse and the annular solar eclipse.
The last annular solar eclipse took place on December 26, 2019.
“The solar eclipse occurs more frequently than the lunar eclipse, with no less than two cases reported per year and up to five cases per year. But it is rare for them to occur in the same region of the earth at such close intervals, especially when it comes to the partial or annular eclipse of the sun,” said Al Jarwan.
“More than half of the Earth's population will be able to see the penumbral lunar eclipse on June 5, which includes Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa,” he said.
A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, earth, and moon are imperfectly aligned. When this happens, the earth blocks some of the sun's light from directly reaching the moon's surface and covers all or part of the moon with the outer part of its shadow, also known as the penumbra.
According to a report by timeanddate.com, the total duration of the eclipse is three hours and 18 minutes. And with good weather conditions, the eclipse will be visible in Dubai.
Lunar eclipse timings
The penumbral eclipse in Dubai will begin on June 5 at 11:15 pm and end on June 6, 2.34am, reaching its peak at 12.54am.
After two weeks, on June 21, 2020, UAE residents will then be able to witness the annular eclipse – the Ring of Fire, which was named accordingly as only the edges of the sun protrudes around the moon.
“The southern areas of the Arabian Peninsula will be able to see the solar eclipse, and it will also be partially witnessed in the emirates. The southwestern areas of the country [like Liwa] will see the sun covered by more than 93 per cent, while the islands will see 82 per cent coverage of the sun,” explained Al Jarwan.
Solar eclipse timings
The eclipse will start at 8.12am and end at 11.12 UAE time, reaching its peak at around 9.35am.
“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,” he noted.
An eclipse occurs when the moon’s disk passes in front of the sun’s disk, in various forms depending on the moon’s distance and the central position of the sun and the moon, at either partial, full or annular.
The annular eclipse track will reach only 75 km in width, starting from central Africa at 3.46am UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) and pass through in Sudan and Ethiopia, across Yemen, some of the Saudi Arabian desert areas, before reaching Muscat in Oman. The eclipse will then continue to Pakistan and northern India at 6.40am UTC, and continue on to China and Southeast Asian countries, before ending in the Pacific Ocean at 9.34am UTC.