Permaisuri Johor among those viewing ‘ring of fire’


Look up Your Majesty: Permaisuri of Johor Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah (in yellow) looking at the annular solar eclipse using special glasses at Masjid Jamek Dato' Haji Noh Gadut, Serkat, Pontian. - Bernama

TANJUNG PIAI: Many people, including foreigners, thronged the entrance of Tanjung Piai Johor National Park to witness the annular eclipse or a phenomenon called the “ring of fire”.

Permaisuri Johor Raja Zarith Sofiah Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah and Johor Regent Tunku Mahkota Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim’s wife Che’ Puan Khaleeda Bustamam performed a special prayer held in conjunction with the annular eclipse at Masjid Jamek Dato’ Haji Noh Gadut in Serkat here.

The event began with the reading of the Yassin and followed by prayers. They then attended a talk about the eclipse conducted by Johor Religious Islamic Department adviser Datuk Noh Gadut.

Before leaving, Her Majesty and Che’ Puan Khaleeda witnessed the eclipse through a telescope at the mosque.

One of the people who watched the event was Kamaruzzaman Abdul Halim, who said that he is an “eclipse chaser” and has travelled to many destinations to feed his obsession.

The 81-year-old retiree said he first witnessed an eclipse way back in 1983 at Jogjakarta, Indonesia.

Since then, he has watched eclipses at other parts of the archipelago and Sabah.

He even went to Oregon in the United States in 2017 to watch the phenomenon.

“This is the second time that I have witnessed an annular eclipse. I last watched it in Mersing in 1998.

“My interest is similar to those whose hobby is fishing. For me, I like watching the eclipse as it makes me feel closer to God, ” he said at the national park yesterday.

Kamaruzzaman, who is from Subang Jaya, said more younger people have shown an interest in eclipses and astronomy, which he terms as the mother of all sciences.

Kong Meng Fatt, 12, from Sekolah Pendidikan Khas Jalan Batu in Kuala Lumpur, came to hear “sounds” coming from the annular eclipse.

Kong, who is blind, is able to “hear” the eclipse through a special machine called the LightSound device. He read about the phenomenon from a Braille book from the National Planetarium.

He is among six students and four teachers from the school invited by the National Planetarium to experience the eclipse, which only occurs once every 20 years.

“I am very excited to hear sounds coming from the eclipse as it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, ” said Meng Fatt, adding that he dreams of becoming a scientist one day.

National Planetarium director Anita Bahari said the annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon covers most of the sun, where it resembles a “ring of fire”.

A total of 120 telescopes were provided to help the public witness the event.

The next annular solar eclipse is expected to take place in 2042.

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