Brunei to witness full lunar eclipse on Saturday

National 2 minutes, 34 seconds


THOSE living in the Sultanate will be treated to the opportunity to watch a full lunar eclipse which is expected to occur on Saturday, April 4.

The Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam – in collaboration with the Survey Department, Ministry of Development and Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) – will organise a lunar eclipse observation for the public from 6pm to 10pm at the Dermaga Diraja (Royal Wharf) in the capital.

Five telescopes will be provided for the public to view the phenomenon.

Other activities lined up include a sky watching and astronomy exhibition.

Talks on the Islamic and scientific perspective of astronomy by speakers from the Survey Department and UNISSA will also be held.

A special mass prayer will also be held to mark the full lunar eclipse.

UNISSA’s Deputy Director of the Centre for Promotion of Knowledge and Languages Learning Pg Dr Hj Saiful Bahrin Pg Hj Kula disclosed the activities during a press conference yesterday at the university.

Pg Dr Hj Saiful Bahrin hoped that the event will provide another platform to enhance the study on Islamic astronomy in the country.

Astronomy is one of the oldest and important sciences that should be promoted more in Brunei because of its connection with Islam.

Pg Dr Hj Saiful Bahrin said the eclipse is an example of Allah SWT’s greatness.

“During this particular event, Muslims are encouraged to perform ‘doa’ (supplications) and zikir (remembering Allah). They are also encouraged to give to the poor as well as to recite istighfar (recitations of repentance).

Hazzary Hj Ali Ahmad, Secretary General of Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam, said a lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly behind the earth, so the earth blocks the sun’s rays.

Such occurrence is rare as it occurs only when the sun, earth and moon are exactly aligned with the earth being precisely in the middle, he added.

In Brunei, the lunar eclipse will be first observed after the moonrise at 6.22pm. If the evening sky is clear, eclipse watchers will see the moon partially obscured by the earth’s shadows.

The entire moon will pass through the earth’s shadow at 7.58pm.

During totality, eclipse observers will notice the moon will completely darken and most likely turn to a coppery red colour.

A press statement from the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam said, “Totality’s duration is only four minutes and 43 seconds when the moon leaves the earth’s shadow at 8.03pm. The moon passing very close to the outer rim of the shadow will make this eclipse the briefest sight of totality in the 21st century”.

The partial eclipse will end at 9.45pm with sunlight gradually reaching the moon’s surface as the earth’s shadow will no longer cover the moon.

By then, the full moon is expected to return to its normal brilliance.

Unlike solar eclipses, a lunar eclipse is completely safe to watch with the naked eye, the statement added.

The phenomenon will also be visible in many parts of Asia, Australia, the Pacific, North and South America.

The Brunei Times