Oman and Kuwait suspend schools ahead of partial eclipse

Special prayer to be held in Muslim countries during the solar event

An empty classroom in a private school in Hawally, Kuwait City.  Reuters
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Kuwait and Oman suspended schools on Tuesday ahead of a partial solar eclipse due at 1.20pm which will be visible throughout the Middle East region.

A partial solar eclipse is a rare event that occurs when the moon comes between the sun and Earth.

The decision was made to ensure the safety of the pupils, as the Ministry of Health advised citizens not to be exposed to sunlight directly two hours before the eclipse to protect their eyes, Kuwait's state news agency Kuna reported.

In Oman, evening classes have been suspended and the regular school day will end after the sixth class, the Oman News Agency said.

The Oman Astronomical Society said the partial solar eclipse would begin at 2.50pm, reach its peak at 3.57pm and end at 4.58pm.

The duration of the eclipse will be approximately 2 hours and 7 minutes.

Experts warn against looking at the eclipse with the naked eye, as it can cause damage, and looking at the sun while it is partially obscured at the time of the eclipse may damage the eye's retina.

'Kusoof' Prayer

Mosques in some Muslim nations will host prayers called 'Kusoof' — eclipse in Arabic — that take place during solar or lunar eclipses.

They are not obligatory, and are in addition to the daily five prayers. They can be held among a congregation in a mosque or individually at home, and are performed without the call to prayer, or iqama.

The eclipse will be visible from Europe, Western Siberia, Central Asia, Western Asia, South Asia and from the north-east of Africa, but not in North America.

Solar eclipses occur roughly every 16 months and can last up to seven and a half minutes, depending on the Earth-Sun-Moon geometry.

The solar eclipse taking place on Tuesday will be the last one this year. The next will take place in April 2023.

Updated: October 25, 2022, 10:39 AM