Dubai: The first day of summer has started in the UAE, according to an expert in astronomy.
Ebrahim Al Jarwan, General Supervisor at Sharjah Planetarium, explained that the hilal (crescent) moon will be coupled with the Thuraya stars for the first three days of Shaaban.
The first day of Shaaban, the 8th month of the Hijri calendar, was marked on April 17, 2018.
“The pairings will last for about two hours over the western horizon after sunset,” said Al Jarwan.
The Thuraya – or the Pleiades star cluster – is sometimes referred to as the Seven Sisters and is among the nearest star clusters to Earth, which also happens to be the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky.
“The Thuraya stars are about to be absent for a period of about 40 to 50 days, which will be accompanied with dust storms during the second half of April,” said Al Jarwan.
The Thuraya star cluster holds about 500 stars, and in the emirates, traditionally marks the rainy season just before summer kicks in. The cluster then disappear by the end of April.
The Pleiades star cluster. Courtesy: European Southern Observatory.
While parts of the country will be hazy and covered in dust, the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) said that rainfall and strong winds will affect various areas on Wednesday morning from 7-11am.
The unstable weather coincides with the NCM’s cloud-seeding missions, with up to five of them expected to be carried out between Tuesday and Wednesday.
A senior official at the NCM explained that the nine cloud-seeding missions carried out since last Friday will bring the total number of attempts of up to 14.