Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 9 December 2019

UAE set to enjoy partial eclipse of the Moon

The eclipse is expected to start at 10.43pm on Tuesday

Full moon. Getty Images
Full moon. Getty Images

UAE residents are set to enjoy a stunning partial eclipse of the Moon on Tuesday night, with clear skies predicted across much of the country.

Astronomers said the Earth’s shadow would sweep across 60 per cent of the lunar body, turning its surface a shade of red.

The dramatic eclipse is expected to start at 10.43pm on Tuesday, and will last for about five hours.

Experts say the best time to watch the event unfold will be at 1.30am Wednesday morning, when the eclipse will be at its peak.

Stargazers in the Emirates are invited to watch the partial eclipse from various observatories across the country.

The Al Sadeem Astronomy Observatory will host an open house at Al Wathba in Abu Dhabi where visitors can use professional telescopes from 10pm.

The Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences will also open its doors to the public as will the Dubai Astronomy Group in Mushrif Park.

This is the last time a lunar eclipse is expected to be visible until a total eclipse on May 26, 2021.

Unlike a solar eclipse, where viewers risk damaging their eyesight if looking directly at the Sun, an eclipse of the Moon is safe to view.

Ilias Fernini, deputy director of the Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences, explained the reasons for the Moon’s reddish tone.

“When part of the Moon is inside the Earth’s shadow, the light from the sun is scattered and the only light that passes through the Earth’s atmosphere is the one that has the red colour," he said.

Emirati astronomer Thabet Al Qaissieh, who runs Al Sadeem Observatory in Al Wathba, said stargazers should also keep a sharp eye out for Saturn and Jupiter during the eclipse.

“At the maximum phase of the eclipse - around 1.30am - look to the right of the moon to see a bright Saturn, and further down to the right, an even brighter Jupiter,” he said.

Updated: July 16, 2019 02:53 PM