Egyptian Premier League fixtures (15th matchday)    Communication ministry provides 20 electronic services via digital means    Tennis: Federer overcomes slow start, reaches Australian Open QFs    Erdogan says Haftar cannot be expected to respect Libya truce    Lebanon's Bank Audi chooses Egypt's EFG Hermes as financial advisor in deal to sell its Egypt unit    Israel approves travel to Saudi under limited circumstances    STC claims negotiating to acquire stake in Vodafone Egypt    Iraqi security forces clash with hundreds of protesters in central Baghdad    Dozens pulled from rubble as Turkey quake toll hits 35    Trump says U.S. will not lift sanctions to negotiate with Iran    Live score: Egypt's Ahly v Tunisia's Etoile du Sahel (African Champions League)    China virus ability to spread getting stronger    US registers third coronavirus case: Health officials    Egypt's Sisi awarded by Germany's St. George medal for peace-making in Africa    Major Gulf stocks slump over spreading coronavirus fears    EBRD is interested in pumping investment into Egypt: President    Egypt denies cases of coronavirus among its citizens in China    Trump to reveal Middle East peace plan, amid Palestinian rejection    EGX expected to maintain sideways at 13,700-14,000 amid low liquidity    Zero coronavirus infection in Egypt, eastern Mediterranean region, says WHO    E-Commerce latest strategies to double online business    Egypt to play Tunisia for African Men's Handball Championship title, Olympics qualification    MOI pardons 2,957 prisoners on Police Day    A whisper from the past: voice of 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy reproduced    France confirms three cases of deadly China virus    Egypt's AOI, Canada's Point North Co signs deal to revamp SEMAF    GEM at the forefront of Egyptian tourism promotion in 2020    A year of major tourist openings ahead: Al-Anani    Two Iraqi protesters killed, 25 wounded in clashes with police: Sources    Despite FDA's anti-vaping campaign, popularity of e-cigarette grows    Interdisciplinary study reveals new insights into evolution of sign language    Books not to miss this book fair - The dreams and agonies of an Egyptian filmmaker    Technical, legal committee meeting on GERD concludes in Khartoum    Financial solvency biggest challenge in Egypt's smart transport market    Egypt's Sisi marks National Police Day with visit to Police Academy    Audio recording: The voice of a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy    Egypt's achievements will be starting point for building modern state: El-Sisi    Al-Sisi reviews GERD negotiation updates ahead of Washington meeting    Sesame Street launches Arabic TV programme for Middle East children dealing with displacement    Egypt in a group with Gabon, Libya, Angola in 2022 World Cup qualifiers    Egypt to play Angola for group leadership in African Men's Handball Championship quarter-finals    Maspero triangle's towers will be up and standing in 30 months: NUCA    TMG to sponsor 5 Egyptian athletes qualified to Tokyo Olympics 2020    ‘Djamila Bouhired' movie star Magda al-Sabahi dies at 89    Egypt is best tourism destination for 2020 according to BBC    Egypt's Zamalek, Smouha presidents hit with disciplinary sanctions by EFA    Egypt's President Sisi pardons some prisoners on 25 Jan. Revolution anniversary    Egypt's Sami Anan released after near two-year detention    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Shoddy organization taints Alexandria's solar eclipse sighting
Published in Daily News Egypt on 17 - 01 - 2010

At 7 am this past Friday, a few astronomy enthusiasts gathered at the plaza of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina to watch the first solar eclipse of the year. They were waiting to see the moon cross the face of the sun and block part of its light.
A photographer getting his camera ready talks to a fellow photographer and asks "so do you take photos? A teenage boy and girl hold a conversation about why eclipses happen. Two children wearing swine flu masks stray away from their parents and their mother runs chasing after them. A young woman breathes in her morning cigarette smoke along with the fresh sea breeze as she reads the instruction on the sundial sitting next to the planetarium.
Everyone was wondering why the sun and the moon weren't visible yet. Some were also wondering why they were told that observing the eclipse will begin at 7 am but they ended up waiting in the morning cold with nothing to do or see.
At 7:30 am, someone started cutting little pieces of what looked like an aluminum foil roll and told the gathered crowd of a little less than a hundred to use this semi-transparent solar filter to look at the sun. At the east side of the plaza, everyone was holding up their filters against their eyes and one could start hearing the younger observers' gasps and the older ones proclaiming "subhan Allah - an Arabic expression of awe.
In ancient Egyptian mythology, Ra the sun god and its son Thout - the moon and wisdom god - were sometimes depicted during eclipses as a cat and snake. In a solar eclipse, the snake bites the cat and the cat returns the ball by casting a shadow on the moon which makes a lunar eclipse.
In old India, China, and other places, the eclipse narratives have their roots in the cosmology. Rahu is the snake, Indian myths hold, that sometimes eats the sun and sometimes the moon causing eclipses. The Chinese pictured a dragon which eats the sun and they would produce great noise and commotion during an eclipse, banging on pots and drums to frighten away the dragon.
As for today's rituals, some Muslims still observe an eclipse prayer (Salat Al-Ksouf) in both solar and lunar eclipses.
Through the solar filter, "the disk of sun looked like a cookie after someone takes a good bite off of it, said the Bibliotheca's lead astronomer of the planetarium science center and event organizer Ayman Ibrahim. The rare sight with the moon eclipsing about a quarter of the sun lasted about an hour and a half.
As exciting as this astronomical phenomenon was, after a while there was really nothing to do and people started leaving. Those expecting more out of the observation session, to see the sun through a telescope equipped with a solar filter, were disappointed. Astronomer Ibrahim also expressed his regret about not having a telescope in the event and pointed out that the reason behind this was that telescopes were being relocated and moved around in the planetarium s storage rooms.
The lack of a telescope and the flyer passed an hour after the observation began stating that it's harmful to look straight at the sun - not just at the time of an eclipse but on any other day as well - showed that the event's organization was poor.
Abdallah Ibrahim, a jogger who came to observe the eclipse, told Daily News Egypt that the organization of the event could have been better.
Soon after the moon moved across the face of the sun, people were invited to a lecture on the sun, moon and the eclipse. Some history, a collection of astronomy photos, and a few animations kept the children as well as the adults excited as Ayman Ibrahim talked and requested the audience's interaction.
Although the lecture didn't end with a proper question and answer session, attendees gathered around the lecturer afterwards and swarmed him with question about everything astronomy.
Sadly though, the target audience of the lecture was clearly children and not adults. On purpose, the lecturer didn't cover one semi-advanced elementary eclipse question: Why are eclipses rare? The answer - because the plane of the moon's orbit around the earth is inclined to the earth's orbit around the sun by about five degrees, so the moon and sun don't intersect often in the sky - would have been more appreciated by adults.
Because eclipses are rare, there will be hopefully enough time before the next partial solar eclipse for the Bibliotheca to offer its visitors a more organized event and a telescope to get more out of it.
As for the next total solar eclipse, it will be a sight but only to those willing to go deep south in Chile or Argentina. Occurring on July 11 and minutes before the first whistle of the final match of the football world cup to be played in South Africa, the whole world will be treated to two grand shows at the same time. Now that's good organization.

Clic here to read the story from its source.