Without the coronavirus pandemic, they would have organised a trip to Lake Magadi in southern Kenya where the skies are generally clearer than over the capital.
“With the pandemic situation, we’re not able to have crowds… and get kids to look through or do stuff,” she said, but still managed to share the event on social media.
The annular eclipse is visible from only about two percent of Earth’s surface, Florent Delefie, an astronomer at the Paris Observatory, told AFP.
“It’s a bit like switching from a 500-watt to a 30-watt light bulb,” he added. “It’s a cold light and you don’t see as well.”
Sri Lanka closed its planetarium to prevent a gathering of amateur astronomers due to the coronavirus outbreak, but live-streamed the celestial event on Facebook.
A small group of about 15 students huddled around a telescope at the University of Colombo to watch the eclipse.
Some students used a welding mask to stare at the sun, while others wore glasses made with filters that cut out ultra-violet rays.
Coronavirus precautions were also taken in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, as dozens of students and astronomy enthusiasts gathered on a rooftop.
Only a few were allowed at the viewing area at a time, wearing masks and sanitising their hands as they waited their turn.
“I was worried because it is a cloudy day, but the view was excellent,” 19-year-old student Swechhya Gurung told AFP.
In Hong Kong, dozens of skywatchers ranging from astronomy enthusiasts with telescopes to families enjoying Father’s Day gathered at a waterfront park in east Kowloon to witness the spectacle, which lasted about 90 minutes.
Lunar eclipse to follow
Cheers erupted from the crowd when the cloud cleared and the eclipse was clearly visible.
The full eclipse was visible at successive locations over a period of nearly four hours, and one of the last places to see the partially hidden Sun was Taiwan.
A solar eclipse always occurs around two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse, when the Moon moves into Earth’s shadow. Lunar eclipses are visible from about half of the Earth’s surface.
A lunar eclipse is due on July 5, with the best viewing over North and South America, southern Europe and Africa.
There will be a second solar eclipse in 2020 on December 14 over South America. Because the Moon will be a bit closer to Earth, it will block out the Sun’s light entirely.
UAE’s Mars orbiter launch from Japan delayed by weather – 570 News
TOKYO — The liftoff of the United Arab Emirates’ Mars orbiter was postponed until Friday due to bad weather at the Japanese launch site.
The orbiter named Amal, or Hope, is the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission. The launch was scheduled for Wednesday from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan, but the UAE mission team announced the rescheduled date on Twitter.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ H-IIA rocket will carry UAE’s craft into space. Mitsubishi launch official Keiji Suzuki had said on Monday a postponement was possible as intermittent lightning and rain were forecast over the next few days.
Heavy rain has fallen for more than a week in large areas of Japan, triggering mudslides and floods and killing more than 70 people, most of them on the southern main island of Kyushu.
Hope is set to reach Mars in February 2021, the year the UAE celebrates 50 years since its formation. A successful Hope mission would be a major step for the oil-dependent economy seeking a future in space.
Hope carries three instruments to study the upper atmosphere and monitor climate change and is scheduled to circle the red planet for at least two years.
Emirates Mars Mission Project Director Omran Sharaf, who joined Monday’s briefing from Dubai, said the mission will provide a complete view of the Martian atmosphere during different seasons for the first time.
Two other Mars missions are planned in coming days by the U.S. and China. Japan has its own Martian moon mission planned in 2024.
Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi
Mari Yamaguchi, The Associated Press
UAE postpones Mars mission due to weather at Japan launch site – TheChronicleHerald.ca
By Lisa Barrington
DUBAI (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates has postponed to July 17 the launch of its mission to Mars due to weather conditions at the launch site in Japan, the UAE government communications office said on Tuesday.
The UAE’s Hope Probe was due to set off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center at 12:51am UAE time on Wednesday (2051 GMT Tuesday) for a seven-month journey to the red planet where it was due to orbit and send back data about the atmosphere.
“The UAE’s space mission, the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission, will launch on Friday July 17, 2020 at 12:43am UAE time (July 16, 2020 at 8:43pm GMT) from Tanegashima Space Center,” the government communications office tweeted.
There are currently eight active missions exploring Mars; some orbit the planet and some land on its surface. China and the United States will send another two this year.
The UAE, an oil-exporting nation, first announced plans for the mission in 2014 as part of efforts to diversify away from hydrocarbons and develop a knowledge economy, aiming to reach the planet by 2021.
With a population of 9.4 million, most of whom are foreign workers, the UAE lacks the scientific and industrial base of the big space-faring nations. It launched a National Space Programme in 2017 to develop expertise in space science among Emiratis.
Emirati Hazza al-Mansouri became the first Arab in space in September 2019 in a flight to the International Space Station.
To develop and build the Hope Probe, Emiratis and Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) worked with U.S. educational institutions with space science expertise.
The UAE government has announced an ambitious goal of a Mars settlement by 2117.
(Reporting by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Ed Osmond)
How to see Comet Neowise: Rare comet pictured as it soars through the sky – MSN Money
A three-mile wide comet named “NEOWISE” has lit up the skies, wowing people across the globe.
Being able to catch a glimpse of the comet — officially known as C/2020 F3 — is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as it won’t pass Earth again for another 6,800 years, according to the International Dark-Sky Association.
It’s extremely rare for comets to be visible to the naked eye. Comet Hale-Bopp, which experts describe as the “last great comet,” was seen in 1997, which was visible for a year and a half. NEOWISE is not considered a “great comet,” though it is still a spectacle.
“The early reviews are in,” Space.com said. “Comet Neowise is a hit.”
On July 3, Comet NEOWISE made its closest approach to the sun.
“This very close passage by the Sun is cooking the comet’s outermost layers, causing gas and dust to erupt off the icy surface and creating a large tail of debris,” NASA said in an article last week. “And yet the comet has managed to survive this intense roasting.”
Since then, the comet has been visible about an hour before sunrise in the US, close to the horizon in the northeastern sky.
It was spotted in England too, where photographer Jon Rees described the comet as a “little beauty.”
“A chance to shoot Comet Neowise over my favourite pier was very very special!” Rees wrote in the caption of his photo he posted to Instagram.
The window to spot NEOWISE is closing quickly — the fleeting comet is expected to remain visible in the northern hemisphere just through July.
Here are some tips on how to best catch a glimpse of it, courtesy of the experts with Sky & Telescope.
- Before July 14, the best time to see the comet was before the sunrise. But from the 14th onward, you’re more likely to see the comet in the evening sky.
- As it moves away from the sun and edges closer to Earth, the comet will fade away, but your chance of catching it improves if you can find a location that’s free of light pollution, meaning street lights, car headlights, apartment lights, and the like.
- “Start looking about 1 hour after sunset, when you’ll find it just over the northwestern horizon as the last of twilight fades into darkness,” the editors of Sky & Telescope said in a news release. “Look about three fists below the bottom of the Big Dipper, which is hanging down by its handle high above, and from there perhaps a little to the right.”
- On July 23, Comet NEOWISE will be at its closest to Earth, but by then, you’ll probably need binoculars or a telescope. If you want to take a picture of the comet, use a tripod and a camera that’s able to take time exposure shots that are several seconds long, according to Sky & Telescope.
Video: NEOWISE comet is now visible from Earth. Don’t miss it! (CNN)
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