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Partial solar eclipse draws enthusiastic crowds in UAE

posted on 05/01/2011: 1847 views

The sun looked like someone had taken a bite out of it from the top during the partial solar eclipse on Tuesday.

Groups of curious people peered through the refracting telescope set up on the steps of the Burj Khalifa. The eclipse was visible from 12.11 to 2.30pm and it reached its maximum at 1.30pm.

"It's a 20 per cent [visibility]," Hassan Ahmad Al Hariri, CEO of the Dubai Astronomy Group, said.

"The dark spots you see are sunspots," he told those who queued as the moon passed in front of the sun. He explained that the spots are actually massive gas storms on the surface of the sun.

Not what they seem

"The hydrogen explosions are not as black as they look, he said, but are colourful and can be seen if photographed through special infra-red lens with time-lapse photography.

"This is the first time I have seen a [solar] eclipse," Douglas Masuku said, adding that "it's an interesting experience."

The group had also set up a reflecting telescope which cast an image of the sun on a screen, as looking at the sun directly would cause blindness.

In Sharjah, dozens of people queued up to watch the eclipse at the Sharjah Science Museum.

Curators had also set up a range of activities for schoolchildren before the start of the eclipse.

"We provided filtered glasses and hand-held mirrors for visitors to view the solar eclipse in a safe manner, because you should not look directly at the sun," Ghada Abdullah, an instructor at the museum, said. Pupils from Rosary School, Sharjah German School and various public schools visited the museum too. – Gulf News


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