Lunar Eclipse Provides Celestial Fete

RIYADH – Sky gazing was the order of the night yesterday evening as people enjoyed a total lunar eclipse. It was seen across the Kingdom from 9.49 p.m. to 1.30 a.m. The lunar eclipse reached its peak at 11.31 p.m. last night.

Special prayers were held across the Kingdom during the eclipse as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him had done at such times.

Dr. Zaki Abdul Rahman Al-Mostafa, head of the Astronomy Department and assistant director of the Institute of Astronomical and Geophysical Research at King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), said there would be two other eclipses this year – a partial solar one on Oct. 14 and a lunar one on Oct. 28 which will not be visible in the Kingdom.

Referring to the transit of Venus, another astronomical event, which will be seen in Saudi Arabia on June 8 from 8.15 a.m. to 2.20 p.m., Dr. Al- Mostafa said, “This event is of special importance for astronomers and physicists.”

He warned. however. “If one looks at the sun with the naked eye, one’s lens will concentrate the sun’s light and focus it onto a very small spot at the back of the retina which can cause permanent eye damage.”

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