Beirut to bear witness to solar eclipse


Beirut and other Arab capitals will be partially shrouded in darkness Friday as the world is set to experience a solar eclipse. 

Lebanon and other countries in North Africa, Europe and the Middle East will witness a partial solar eclipse, while the Faroe Islands, a tiny country off the northern coast of the UK and the Norwegian islands of Svalbard, will experience a total eclipse.

In addition to Lebanon, other Middle Eastern countries that will experience the partial eclipse include: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Tunis, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania, according to the International Astronomical Center based in Abu Dhabi.

In a partial solar eclipse, the moon does not completely hide the surface of the sun so some direct rays of sunlight are visible to the observer.

The eclipse will start at 10:45 a.m. Beirut time and will last for a couple of hours.

The solar eclipse, which refers to a phenomenon where the sun and moon line up so that the latter obscures the former, will start from a remote location in the North Atlantic before moving over the Faroe Islands and finishing over the North Pole.

The Daily Star would like to remind citizens to avoid looking at the sun with the naked eye during the eclipse in order to prevent potential permanent damage to their retinas. 

In addition to the solar eclipse, Friday is set to coincide with a super-moon and the spring equinox, according to the Guardian.

A super-moon refers to the moment the moon’s orbit is at its closest to the Earth, making it look bigger than it normally does. The spring equinox is the time of the year when night and day are of equal length, mid-way between the longest and shortest days of the year.