Omani Astronomical Society Program for the Annular Eclipse

The Omani Astronomical Society is preparing to establish programs and activities for the annular eclipse project, on the occasion of the phenomenon of the annular eclipse of the sun for this year, which will be witnessed in the Sultanate’s sky on June 21, 2020, in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Public Authority for Radio and Television and the Omani Society for Photography And a group of relevant governmental and private institutions.

As this project aims to build generations of astronomers (amateurs and specialists) to advance the cultural and scientific level in the astronomical field in the Sultanate, promote scientific tourism in the Sultanate, educate various groups of society and educate them about safe methods of monitoring, and encourage photographers to photograph the phenomenon of the eclipse of the sun and highlight the beauty of Oman, as well as Encouraging researchers to conduct scientific research and studies on the pure annular solar eclipse.

This year's Eclipse Project accompanies several programs and events, including:

1- Live broadcast to depict the annular eclipse phenomenon

The Omani Astronomical Society, in cooperation with the Department of Astronomical Affairs at the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, will make a live broadcast from a group of selected sites, which are: Qurayyat, Sand Al-Ma'an, Manah, Bahla.

The general public can watch the live broadcast on the platforms of the Omani Astronomical Society on social media, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

2- Establishing research and studies

In terms of promoting science and disseminating knowledge, the Omani Astronomical Society invites scientific and research institutions and researchers to participate in establishing a set of scientific research and studies during the annular eclipse phenomenon.

There are a set of proposals that the association decided to share with the scientific and research institutions in the Sultanate to encourage them to make them during the period of the solar eclipse while highlighting the sites for establishing these researches in the Sultanate and focusing the studies link with the local environment from these studies:

• Study the effect of the eclipse on communications signals and the ionosphere

• Study the atmosphere at the time of the eclipse by sending weather balloons

• Study the effect of solar eclipses on the behavior of animals, birds, and insects

Study the effect of an eclipse on the Earth's magnetic field

• Study the effect of an eclipse on gravity

• Study the intensity of visible light reaching the surface of the Earth during the eclipse stages

• Study the effect of the eclipse on the tidal phenomenon.

3- Astronomical photography exhibition 2020

Intending to encourage interested Omani photographers, residents, and visitors to the Sultanate to photograph the apparent solar eclipse and highlight the beauty of Oman, and spread their creativity and the output of their artworks, the idea came to re-establish an astronomical photography exhibition organized by the Omani Astronomical Society in cooperation with the Photographic Society, so that it fits with the project of the annular eclipse. Determine its subject to become the main axis: the sun, and it will be in the form of a competition in which photographers compete and show artworks in April 2020 AD, so that participants can photograph the largest amount of astronomical phenomena associated with the sun, and the rarest: the passage of Mercury in front of the sun disk on November 11, 2019 AD, and the eclipse of the sun Annular on December 26, 2019 CE, and annular solar eclipse on June 21, 2020 AD.

The idea of holding an astronomical photography exhibition came after the success of the previous exhibition held in October 2018, with the wide participation of photographers and those interested in astronomical photography, as the participating photos reached 41 photos submitted by 30 photographers. The images involved revolved in two areas: the astronomical axis, which shows the components of space and the planets, nebulae, and galaxies contained in it, and the creative axis that includes night landscape images that highlight the beauty of the sky and the lights and movement of the stars.

The 2020 astronomical exhibition aims to achieve several goals, including:

1- Encouraging those interested and Omani photographers, residents and visitors to the Sultanate to photograph the apparent solar eclipse and highlight the beauty of Oman, and spread their creativity and the output of their artworks

2- collecting those interested in astronomical photography to exchange experiences and knowledge

3- Introducing the latest technologies and methods used in astronomical photography in all its fields

4- Educating the community about the harmful effects of light pollution and its impact on the environment and wildlife

4. An awareness campaign for the safe monitoring of solar eclipse and eye safety

The phenomenon of the eclipse of the sun is one of the rare astronomical phenomena that will not be missed by members of society. However, watching the eclipse safely and eye safety when observing the sun’s disk is one of the most important things that must be taken into consideration, so whoever watches the sun disk directly may expose his eyes to grave danger, Since a few seconds while watching the sun disk without using the safe tools for monitoring is enough to cause serious complications on the retina and a great impact on the eyesight, the person will not realize this until it is too late. 

Accordingly, the campaign comes to ensure that they follow safety measures on monitoring the phenomenon of the eclipse of the sun and protect their eyes, to provide appropriate tools for monitoring, and to encourage the establishment of mass monitoring activities in the various governorates of the Sultanate. 

The astronomical society noted that safety measures must be followed when monitoring the eclipse of the sun and that not looking at the eclipse with the naked eye, it can cause damage to two eyes, and indicated that looking towards the sun while being partially obscured at the time of the eclipse damages the retina. 

She also said that its important to see a doctor if any of the symptoms of eye damage accuses during an eclipse, although some symptoms might not be immediate:  

1- Blurred vision

2- A wavy or distorted view

3- Difficulty distinguishing colors

4- Headache

5- Sensitivity to light

6- Watching “spots” or “holes” in the eyes

7- Pain.

When monitoring the solar eclipse, training must be made in the use of equipment, training, and supervising children before the eclipse, and checking the filter or sun filter before using it, and make sure that it is free from any damage or scratches.

In the case of wearing medical eyeglasses, the glasses of the eclipse must be worn before seeing the sun and not wresting them when looking at the sun, nor should the sun be seen through any optical devices that do not have a special filter or filter, but appropriate protection must be used, the sunglasses are not suitable for viewing the sun in the form directly. 

Photo credits:
Yong Chuan Link

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