30 July 2018
Following its mission of nurturing space sciences understanding of the general public, the Sharjah Center for Astronomy and Space Sciences organized a lunar eclipse observation during which more than 1,000 persons of the general public, students, and space enthusiasts and researchers turned in to see the spectacle using various telescopes and large binoculars set for the special occasion. Besides the eclipse, it was an occasion to see four planets: Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars opposite the Moon.
Because the Moon was near apogee (the most distant point in its orbit) around the July full Moon, the lunar eclipse on July 27th was the longest of the 21st century. This is because the Moon was moving slower in its orbit and taking more time in the shadow. This past Friday night's lunar eclipse was more than 20 minutes longer than the last one, which occurred earlier this year on January 31st and lasted approximately one hour and 16 minutes. The next eclipse coming up on January 21st, 2019 will be 1 hour and 2 minutes in duration.
His Excellency Prof. Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy, Chancellor of the University of Sharjah and General Director of SCASS, stressed the big role of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, President of the University, for his constant support of the center with all of its components and initiatives.
The Chancellor addressed the importance of the lunar eclipse as an astronomical event to enrich the astronomical knowledge of the general public and to bring understanding of the sky closer to them. In addition, he emphasized the role of the Sharjah Center for Astronomy and Space Sciences as a research center in all fields of space sciences. SCASS, as part of the University of Sharjah, is a leading scientific center in the United Arab Emirates with five research laboratories: the CubeSat Laboratory, the Space Weather and Ionospheric Center, the Radio Astronomy Laboratory, the Meteorite Center, and the Astronomical Observatory.
The eclipse was live broadcasted from the Center on YouTube and Sharjah TV.