A rare total lunar eclipse was seen in several Middle East countries Wednesday night.
In Cairo Dr. Hatem Oudah, chairman of the Egyptian National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics (NRIAG), said the (NRIAG) scientists detected the total central eclipse which is the first of its kind in this century and rare in terms of duration.
It’s central because the center point of Earth’s shadow passes across the Moon, the last central eclipse took place July 16, 2000, and the next one is expected on July 27, 2018, Dr. Oudah noted.
The American University in Cairo (AUC) held a ceremony to observe the astronomical phenomenon.
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia astronomers said the eclipse lasted for more than 100 minutes.
It’s unprecedented in the Kingdom since 40 years and might be repeated in 2076, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) noted.
“The total eclipse phase which covered all parts of the Kingdom started at 22:22:30, Riyadh time, and will end at 02:00:45 tomorrow morning,” the report quoted Saleh bin Mohammed Al-Saab, Supervisor of the National Center at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, as saying.
The eclipse started to be seen in the Iraqi northern semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan and other parts of Iraq at 9:30 p.m., Baghdad time, and lasted for about 100 minutes.
Unlike other eclipses the Moon seemed very dark because it fell under the central point of the Earth’s shadow, astronomers of the Iraqi Institute of Astronomical and Geophysical researches in Baghdad said.
This rare phenomenon which takes place every two centuries lasted until 11: 30 pm, they added