Dramatic ‘Ring of Fire’ solar eclipse is a first for Saudi Arabia

Dramatic ‘Ring of Fire’ solar eclipse is a first for Saudi Arabia
The final solar eclipse of 2019 will farewell the year in dramatic fashion in places such as India, Singapore, the Philippines and areas of Australia as well as the Gulf region.
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Updated 26 December 2019

Dramatic ‘Ring of Fire’ solar eclipse is a first for Saudi Arabia

Dramatic ‘Ring of Fire’ solar eclipse is a first for Saudi Arabia
  • Schools postpone exams after doctors’ safety warnings

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will wake up to a “Ring of Fire” in the sky on Thursday — a spectacular solar eclipse believed to be the first of its kind in the Kingdom.

The final solar eclipse of 2019 will farewell the year in dramatic fashion in places such as India, Singapore, the Philippines and areas of Australia as well as the Gulf region.
Eyewitnesses to the annular eclipse will see the moon move in front of the sun, blocking out the center but leaving the edges visible — creating a “Ring of Fire” in the sky.
Abdullah Al-Misnad, a climate professor at Qassim University’s geography department, said that the Dec. 26 eclipse will be the first of two in Saudi Arabia, with a second eclipse due on June 21, 2020.
The solar eclipse is expected to last 2 minutes 55 seconds. It will not be visible to all Gulf countries, but is limited to a 160 km swathe across southern areas of the Arabian Peninsula.
Hofuf in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province — the only Gulf city over which the eclipse shadow will pass — will have unrivalled views of the “Ring of Fire” eclipse, Al-Misnad said.
However, he cautioned people against looking or staring at the sun during the eclipse.
Dr. Salwa Al-Hazaa, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon at King Faisal Specialist Hospital, also warned against looking at the sun during any type of eclipse because of the high risk of eye damage.
Gazing at the sun during a full or partial solar eclipse is harmful and could cause partial blindness, she said.

FASTFACT

An annular solar eclipse occurs when a new moon is furthest from the Earth on its elliptical orbit, and on Christmas Day it will appear about one percent smaller in the sky. It cannot fully eclipse the sun, and instead observers see a ‘ring of fire’ or ‘ring of light’ around the moon. It is essentially a pretty partial solar eclipse, and at all times observers need to wear protective solar eclipse glasses.

She also warned against using so-called “protective” glasses, which she said were “useless,” and failed to protect the eyes against ultraviolet and infrared light produced during an eclipse.
Al-Hazaa said that children and those aged under 20 years are most vulnerable to eye damage from harmful rays from the sun.
The damaging effects of staring at the sun might not be clear immediately, but will appear after a short period of time in form of a decline in vision and difficulty in identifying colors.
“The real danger lies in the infrared rays, which cannot be seen by our eyes. When these rays penetrate the eyes, they cause harmful effects to the retina,” she said.
Minister of Education Hamad Al-Asheikh has told schools in the Kingdom to postpone exams until 9 a.m. on Thursday as a precautionary measure to protect students and school staff during the solar eclipse.


Saudi Arabia to reopen its embassy in Doha, says Saudi FM

Saudi Arabia to reopen its embassy in Doha, says Saudi FM
Updated 16 January 2021

Saudi Arabia to reopen its embassy in Doha, says Saudi FM

Saudi Arabia to reopen its embassy in Doha, says Saudi FM
  • The Saudi minister repeated the need to reach a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian conflict
  • The Jordanian minister condemned the Houthi militia’s attempts to attack Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia will open its embassy in Doha within days, after completing the necessary procedures, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said in a joint press conference on Saturday with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi in Riyadh.
His comments follow the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signing of the Jan. 5 Al Ula agreement, which saw the reopening of the borders between Qatar and Saudi Arabia..
The Saudi minister repeated the need to reach a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian conflict.
From his side, Safadi said the relationship with Saudi Arabia was historical and strategic, adding that Jordan appreciated the Kingdom’s continued support to the country in facing economic challenges.
The minister also condemned the Houthi militia’s attempts to attack Saudi Arabia, and he said he rejected Iran's interference in the region’s affairs.
He added that Jordan agreed with Saudi Arabia in promoting joint action to face current challenges.
“We are working to develop our relationship with the GCC on the security, political and economic levels,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Safadi said.
He added that peace was an Arab strategic choice, and said that Jordan looked forward to working with the new US administration.