Saudi Arabia to witness partial lunar eclipse on Jan. 31

In this Aug. 28, 2007 photo, the moon takes on different orange tones during a lunar eclipse seen from Mexico City. On Jan. 31, 2018, a super moon, blue moon and a lunar eclipse will coincide for first time since 1982 and will not occur again until 2037. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)
Updated 30 January 2018

Saudi Arabia to witness partial lunar eclipse on Jan. 31

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s sky will witness on Wednesday the first phenomenon of partial lunar eclipse in 2018 in conjunction with the presence of the moon at a very close distance from the Earth.
The moon will appear larger than normal. It is an extremely rare celestial event known as a super blue blood moon. According to NASA, the super blue blood moon was last seen when the three elements came together in 1866.
The moon will turn into near darkness after falling behind the Earth with the emergence of the full moon of the current Jamad Al-Awwal month.
During 2018, the Kingdom’s sky will witness a second lunar eclipse in the middle of Dhul Qaada month, corresponding to July 28.
It could be seen as a total lunar eclipse in all regions of the Kingdom, an astronomer at the University of King Abdul Aziz, Malham Hindi, told the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
“The partial lunar eclipse that will occur on Wednesday will happen with the beginning of the moon’s exit from behind the moon’s umbra (shadow),” Hindi said.
The moonrise will start in the Kingdom from the eastern region at 5:22 p.m. with a view of 76 percent.
The moonrise starts consecutively in the rest of the Kingdom. The moon shines in Riyadh at 5:39 p.m. with an eclipse of 37 percent in the regions of the northern borders with 36 percent, Qassim with 34 percent, Hail with 22 percent, Najran with 14 percent, Abha with 4 percent, Jazan with 2 percent and Al-Baha with 1 percent.
Hindi pointed out that the phases of the lunar eclipse end with the moon’s exit from the shadow of the Earth at 6:11 p.m. before its rise on the regions of Makkah, Madinah and Tabuk.
Therefore, the people of these areas will not be able to see the eclipse, while the moon will remain affected by the penumbra of the Earth’s shadow, which is seen by all the population of the Kingdom after the end of the partial eclipse until it ends at 7:08 p.m. Saudi Arabia time.
He explained that the people of Alaska, Russia, East Asia and Australia can see the total lunar eclipse at all stages after the beginning of the eclipse on Jan. 31 at 2:48 p.m. Saudi Arabia time. The moon totally enters behind the Earth’s shadow at 3:51 p.m.

$800bn plan to turn Riyadh into cultural hub for the Middle East

Updated 39 min 4 sec ago

$800bn plan to turn Riyadh into cultural hub for the Middle East

  • Saudi capital’s planning chief unveils ambitious strategy ahead of G20 urban development summit

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia is launching a SR3 trillion ($800 billion) plan to double the size of Riyadh in the next decade and transform it into an economic, social and cultural hub for the region.

The ambitious strategy for the capital city was unveiled by Fahd Al-Rasheed, president of the Royal Commission for the City of Riyadh, ahead of key meetings of the U20, the arm of the G20 leaders’ summit that deals with urban development and strategy.

“Riyadh is already a very important economic engine for the Kingdom, and although it’s already very successful, the plan now, under Vision 2030, is to actually take that way further, to double the population to 15 million people,” he told Arab News.

“We’ve already launched 18 megaprojects in the city, worth over SR1 trillion, over $250 billion, to both improve livability and deliver much higher economic growth so we can create jobs and double the population in 10 years. It’s a significant plan and the whole city is working to make sure this happens.”

About $250 billion in investment is expected from the private sector, with the same amount generated by increased economic activity from population growth, finance and banking, cultural and desert tourism, and leisure events.

“We must also ensure the growth is managed properly, so there will be a focus on transport and logistics, including the Riyadh metro which will open at the beginning of next year. The aim is to increase productivity,” Al-Rasheed said.

The plan involves the creation of a “mega industrial zone” focusing on advanced technology such as renewables and automation, and biotechnology and aquaponics. Another key feature is sustainability, with energy conservation, the circular carbon economy with its emphasis on reducing emissions, and water management, all priorities.

“You will see 7 million trees planted in Riyadh in the next few years, and King Salman Park will be bigger than Hyde Park in London,” Al-Rasheed said.


  • 18 megaprojects have already been launched worth over $250 billion.
  • 7 million trees planted in Riyadh in the next few years.
  • King Salman Park will be bigger than Hyde Park in London.

The city also aims to be a Middle East artistic and cultural hub. An opera house is being considered, as well as public art shows with 1,000 works commissioned from around the world. “We have not seen anything like it since Renaissance Florence,” Al-Rasheed said.

The plans will be discussed this week during online meetings of the U20 linking Riyadh with Houston. The Texas oil capital is suffering a new spike in coronavirus cases and pandemics will be on the agenda. “We want to deal with this one, but also be ready for the next one,” Al-Rasheed said.