JEDDAH: A total lunar eclipse will be visible in Jeddah and Riyadh next Wednesday for about 100 minutes. It is thought to be the first one to be seen in the Kingdom for 40 years. If one misses it he/she will have to wait 65 years, until precisely June 14, 2076.
Majed Abu Zahra, Chairman of the Astronomy Society in Jeddah, said this will be the second total lunar eclipse visible in the Kingdom since Aug. 6, 1971. A second one occurred in the year 2000 but was not seen in the Kingdom.
A lunar eclipse is when the moon moves into the center of the earth’s shadow, which means the Sun’s rays cannot strike the moon. In contrast, a solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth. At least two to five solar eclipses can occur each year, with sometimes two being total eclipses. Unlike a solar eclipse a lunar eclipse does not need special sighting equipment, it can be safely seen with the naked eye through a telescope or binoculars.
Abu Zahra said people who live in South American countries are also able to see the lunar eclipse.
According to Wikipedia, it will also be visible in many parts of Europe, Africa, Central Asia, Philippines and Australia.
There will be another lunar eclipse this year, on Dec. 10, but will not be seen from the Kingdom.
– Okaz/Saudi Gazette