The Maldives will tomorrow become the best vantage point in the world to watch the longest-lasting solar eclipse of the millenium – at least until the year 3043.
The eclipse will follow a 300-kilometre wide route across Africa, the Indian Ocean and eastern Asia, beginning at 10:45am Maldivian time and almost completely overlapping the sun at 12.27pm, creating a stunning ‘ring of fire’ effect that will be visible for almost 11 minutes.
So unique is the event that scientists and eclipse chasers from all over the world are converging on Male to watch the spectacular event.
Founding member of the Maldives Science Society, Ahid Rasheed, noted that the country is hosting the largest ever gathering of pendulum specialists in the world, drawn from the UK, Colombia, Australia and Canada, who will be studying gravitational anomolies during the solar event.
“We are very honoured to be hosting them, particularly as we are such a young organisation,” Rasheed said. “There’s also a cruise ship arriving from India especially to see to eclipse in Male, with four astronomers on board.”
News broadcaster CNN will be broadcasting live around the world from the roof of the tallest building in Male, the Holiday Inn.
The ‘annular’ eclipse means the moon will not obscure the sun completely, unlike a total eclipse, explains Rasheed, as the moon is currently further away from Earth as thus appearing smaller to those watching on the planet’s surface. This will make the moon appear framed by the sun, an effect Rasheed promises “is going to be very beautiful.”
“Ninety-one percent of the sun will be covered – it’s going to look just like the one on the TV series Heroes,” he explained.
As beautiful as the effect may be, watching it with the naked eye is very dangerous and can cause permanent eye damage just as if one was staring at the sun.
“It doesn’t matter if 100 percent or eight percent of the sun is visible, the infra-red rays will still be hitting the eyes,” Rasheed said.
“Some people say you can use the inside of floppy disks or x-ray sheets, but they won’t block all the IR rays. Sunglasses are not advisable at all, because they only protect from UV rays.
“Special eclipse-viewing glasses are made from mylar or black polymer. You can also use welding glasses, but I haven’t seen any in Male of the right standard.”
The Maldives Science Society will be holding a viewing session with 10 solar-protected telescopes starting from 9:00am until the eclipse ends at around 2:30pm, he said. with a break for Friday prayer. The society will also be providing a number of eclipse glasses, and has cleared the event with the Islamic Ministry.
“Friday is the Islamic weekend and in a 100% Muslim country, no event can happen during prayer time,” Rasheed explains.
The government recently asked the Holiday Inn to cancel an event planned during the eclipse which included music and a barbecue, after the event was criticised in an article published in newspaper Miadhu for contravening the Islamic tenet.
“The Holiday Inn [controversy] affected us. We tried to get students involved and approached a school about it, but the management were very hesitant,” Rasheed said, adding that the eclipse viewing would include a break during prayer time.
The Maldives Science Society event will be held at the back of Dharubaaruge (Usfasgandu) on Ameenee Magu in Male.
Live CNN coverage of the event will appear here.
12 thoughts on “Maldives to receive best view of ‘ring of fire’ eclipse”
Hang on a second. Let me get this straight -
The Maldives Science Society cannot arrange a viewing of the eclipse without first clearing it with the Islamic Ministry?
Because: “Friday is the Islamic weekend and in a 100% Muslim country, NO EVENT can happen during prayer time.”
Nature itself - or 'acts of God' themselves - now need a mandate from the Maldivian Islamic Ministry before they are allowed to proceed?
Is it just me, or does this strike anyone else as just a teeny weent bit over the top?
munirah! are you aware that there's a prayer called "hukuru namaadh" at that time, and it has been like that for centuries in this country, we close the shops as well ? while studying abroad you trying to be a western but you guys end up nothing nor western neither a Maldivian, but look around you how all European Muslims do when the prayer time comes, you can just say that's the easy way of living .. thank you
So it seems that anyone who joins this event will miss the completed annulus which will occur during prayer time. I guess MSS is being cautious as not to rouse too many feathers by hosting this event, which is irreverent as it is, right?
Munirah, yeah, definitely. Natural phenomena will need prior checking with MoIA before occurring. Somebody missed a memo.
Yes, it is a bit over the top to get clearance from the Islamic Ministry. They should learn to let the people enjoy themselves and do their religious stuff on their own. We need to change the bloody constitution. we can't be forced to be Muslim. Full Stop.
Maumoon acted like he was God almighty himself, during his 30 year reign. Now the Islamic Ministry!! Wonder what they wanna be? This is crazy!! Anni, what is going on?? Can't the state get out of religion and let it be between the individual and God. After all there is not supposed to be any compulsion in Islam.
Let me explain this. We have missed a golden opportunity to bring tourists from around the world. We all knew this for years but we failed once again. The last time this happened in Fiji they got over 200 million dollars for 4 hours of eclipse. We are bunch of fools, idiots led by dictators and party zealots.
"After all there is not supposed to be any compulsion in Islam."
yes... but propagation on anti-Islamic sentiments is treason against the creator, so we do every inch of our strength to stop shadowing the process of the Islamic creed and its elements towards salvation. Anyone one disagree GET OUT OF THE WAY.
See the solutions is for us women to go and see the eclipse while the men attend Friday prayers, as we are discouraged from going to Friday prayers.
I disagree with the comment that womens are discouraged from going friday prayers. The fact is few miski do accommodate womens throughout the week but when it comes to friday prayer the number of mens are more so it is not possible to have place for them.
Check out the behind the scenes at Dharubaaruge, yesterday.
We got rid of Maumoon and got the Islamic Ministry instead.
Can minivan please cover Sheik Fareed's scary sermon terrorizing the people?
So Sumehal, like all things, men get first preference and what is leftfor women are the leftovers. Sad thing is this applies to everything including food, going on holidays, meeting friends, buying clothes....and as you have just confirmed even praying
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