April 8 solar eclipse: What UAE residents need to know

From the Earth’s perspective, the Moon blocks out the Sun completely during a total solar eclipse.
Image Credit: AFP/File picture

Dubai: As the Earth prepares for the total solar eclipse tomorrow, April 8, residents of the UAE will not be able to see the celestial event, an official of the Dubai Astronomy Group (DAG) said.

Shiraz Ahmed Awan, DAG’s General Manager, told Gulf News: “Like any other solar eclipse, tomorrow’s eclipse too has a definitive path, and the UAE is not on that path.”

As a result, he said, “In terms of regular observation, that will not be happening.”

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The April 8 total solar eclipse will cross North America, passing over Mexico, the United States and Canada, he said, explaining how from the Earth’s perspective, the disc of the sun will be completely blocked out by the moon.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, totally blocking the face of the Sun.

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, those along the centre line of the eclipse’s path will be able to see the total eclipse for 3.5-4 minutes. For those in the path of the eclipse, the totality phase is estimated to last twice as long as it did the last time in 2017, as the moon is closer to the Sun now than before.

According to NASA, Mexico’s Pacific coast will be the first area in North America to experience totality, which will occur at about 11.07 am (Pacific Daylight Time) – – which corresponds to 10.07pm UAE time.

Awan said the DAG plans to stream the spectacular event, details of which will be available on its website. Those interested can also catch the event live through NASA’s streaming as well, he added.

The path of totality – where the Moon can be seen completely blocking the Sun, revealing the star’s outer atmosphere, called the corona – is much wider during tomorrow’s total solar eclipse compared to 2017, according to NASA.

During the 2017 total solar eclipse, the Moon was farther away from Earth and the path ranged from about 62 to 71 miles wide. This time around, the path over North America will range between 108 and 122 miles wide, covering more ground, it noted.

Tomorrow’s eclipse path will also pass over more cities than the 2017 path did, enabling more people to see totality. Some 31.6 million people are believed to be living in the path of totality this year, as against 12 million in 2017. Some 150 million more people live within 200 miles of the path of totality, according to a NASA report.

“During the 2024 eclipse, the Sun will be in or near solar maximum, when the magnetic field is more like a tangled hairball. Streamers will likely be visible throughout the corona. In addition to that, viewers will have a better chance to see prominences – which appear as bright, pink curls or loops coming off the Sun, compared to 2017,” added the NASA report.