Revealed: best places in the UAE to watch this weekend's lunar eclipse

UAE Space Agency is sponsoring a series of observation points at astronomy centres in the UAE to help residents witness the longest total lunar eclipse of the century
Revealed: best places in the UAE to watch this weekend's lunar eclipse
By Sam Bridge
Thu 26 Jul 2018 02:24 PM

The UAE Space Agency has announced that it is sponsoring a series of observation points at astronomy centres throughout the UAE to provide residents with the opportunity to witness the longest total lunar eclipse of the century.

The event, which takes place overnight on Friday-Saturday, can be watched from viewing locations including the International Astronomical Centre, based in Abu Dhabi, Emirates Mobile Observatory, Al Sadeem Astronomy, Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences and the Dubai Astronomy Group.

Visitors will have the opportunity to clearly see the eclipse through advanced telescopes and benefit from the fact that the Arab world, especially the GCC region, will be one of the best locations from which to observe the eclipse, state news agency WAM reported.

The phenomenon is expected to last for one hour, 42 minutes and 57 seconds. The moon will enter the semi-shade zone at 9:15pm (UAE time) on Friday, while the partial eclipse will begin at 10:24pm as the eclipse transforms into a total one at 11:30pm.

The eclipse will then reach its peak at 12:22am on Saturday morning ending at 1:12am. This will then be followed by the end of the partial eclipse at 2:19am, and the moon will emerge from the semi-shadow region and completely end at 3:29am.

Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, director-general of UAE Space Agency, said: "This global phenomenon is an important opportunity for us to shed light on our dynamic national space sector.

"The popularity, especially amongst the youth, of previous observation events organised or sponsored by the Agency encouraged us to take advantage of this unique opportunity to engage with the public. Sponsoring such events plays a key role in inspiring our youth to join the space sector and study science and engineering to acquire the required skills to succeed and excel in space and astronomy," he added.

Mohammed Shawkat Odeh, director of the International Astronomical Centre, added: "During this phenomenon many planets can also be seen. This is the best time of the year to see a number of our solar system’s planets. After sunset, Venus appears in the West as a bright white body, it is the third brightest object in the sky after the sun and moon. Jupiter can also be seen on the south-west side also appearing as a bright white object, and with the use of telescopes four of its moons, its Great Red Spot, and its Equatorial Belts can be seen.

"Saturn will also be visible in the south and by using a telescope its rings and some of the belts on the planet's disk will also be visible. As for Mars, during this period of time it can be seen clearly using nothing but the naked eye, located to the East as a bright orange object. In addition, if atmospheric transparency permits it, the Planet’s poles will be visible through a telescope."

He said the event organised by the IAC in Abu Dhabi will take place on the Corniche Road opposite the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company building from 8pm on Friday and will begin with a lecture on eclipses and the planets that can be seen during this period. Attendees will then head to the telescopes to witness the eclipse and various planets.

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