Tropical cyclone names and Maldives: Hibaru, Gonu, Aila, Keila, Madi, Roanu, Mekunu, Hikaa

Tropical cyclones are given names based on a small list containing a set of names for every year by the World Meteorological Organization. Names are given because it is easier to refer to and remember. The list is rotated every few years and names are reused. "Katrina" and "Sandy", became widely known because these tropical storms went onto develop into hurricanes and cause devastating damage in the US. There are different lists for different areas (ocean basins) of the world.

But what I didn't know before was that there is a list of names contributed by Maldives as well, for naming tropical cyclones in the Northern Indian Ocean. The names contributed by Maldives are all local Dhivehi names for different fish: Hibaru, Gonu, Aila, Keila, Madi, Roanu, Mekunu and Hikaa.

I am not sure if there's been any actual tropical cyclone that has been given a Maldives contributed name though...

Ludge pointed me to a note "Cyclones Named by Maldives" that he had posted on Facebook in 2009 that had a lot more information on this:
Maldives has provided names to cyclones before, such as Cyclone Hibaru (January 2005), Cyclone Gonu (June 2007) and now Cyclone Aila (May 2009).

Cyclone Gonu is the "strongest tropical cyclone on record in the Arabian Sea, and is also the strongest named cyclone in the northern Indian Ocean".

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse on 28th November visible in the Maldives

There will be a Penumbral Lunar eclipse that will be visible in the Maldives taking place on 28 November 2012. The eclipse starts at 5:15 PM, reaches mid eclipse at 7:33 PM and ends at 9:51 PM.

Since this is a penumbral eclipse, the Moon will only catch the softer outer-shadow cast by the Earth, which does not produce as dramatic eclipses as total or partial lunar eclipses. There will be a slight but distinct darkening of the northern edge of the Moon. By the time the Sun sets on the 28th, the Moon will be low on the Eastern horizon which means it will be a while before any viewing can be done. Depending on cloud cover and atmospheric conditions, it might be hard to notice the eclipse except around mid-eclipse.

The next earliest total Lunar eclipse visible in the Maldives occurs 8 October 2014.

More info:

Thireefili: An experiment in removing the bottom diacritics in Thaana

This follows from a little chat Hamid Shafeeu and I had last night. Hamid suggested that the vowel diacritics written on the bottom of the letters in Thaana, the "ibifili" and "eebeefili", should be moved to the top to make the writing look cleaner (and other reasons he offered that I can't remember now). Anyway, the move requires minor changes and should be pretty apparent and easy to learn.

I've altered the FDL licensed "Thaana Unicode Akeh" font by "MITF" to bring the ibifili and eebeefili to the top and laterally inverted them to differentiate from the abafili and aabaafili vowel diacritics. The resulting font which I've called "ThireeFili", is available for download below. The font is free and is released under the Free Documentation License which it's ancestor follows.

I do not particularly like how the two new fili looks but I think moving the bottom diacritics to the top definitely brings a readability improvement. What are your thoughts?

- ThireeFili TrueType font (Thireefili.ttf) - 19.3 KB

HaveeruOnline profile on me

Haveeru Online, the Maldives' most popular online news site, published a profile on me on their Dhivehi version site recently as part of a profile-a-day series they are running for the month of Ramadan. Thanks Haveeru and the author Hussain Fiyaz Moosa for the lovely write up. :-).

The article is available here: ޖާވިޝް: އާ ދިރާސާތަކަށް އަބަދުވެސް ތައްޔާރު!

Me on Geeklyzer podcast

I had a chat recently with Shaff and Aman for the latest episode of their all-Maldivian tech podcast Geeklyzer.

Geeklyzer is the only ongoing Maldivian podcast I know of. They are doing a great job at keeping it going since 2008. Thanks guys for having me on :-)

Listen at Geeklyzer – Interview w/ Jawish Hameed, or via the embedded player below...

MAAS event - Venus Transit Watch, 6th June

Venus will be passing in front of the Sun (as viewed from Earth) on 5/6th of June. The transit can be seen in the Maldives on 6th June. The transit would have already started by the time the Sun rises over Maldives that morning. Venus reaches center at 6:31 AM and exits the exterior of the disc of the Sun at 9:52 AM. The next earliest visible Venus transit will not occur until 2117!

MAAS will be setting up several telescopes with solar filters at Lonuziyaaraiy and Henveiru park area to allow you to watch the Sun and Venus close up, safely, while Venus moves across the disc of the Sun. No fees and all welcome!

Warning: The Sun will be at full brightness unlike during an eclipse so using anything other than specialized solar filters can and will damage your eyes and is not recommended!

Time: 6:30 AM - 9:52 AM
Place: Henveiru Adu Park (infront of Raalhugandu)

"Super moon" misconceptions

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding regarding the "super moon" event that took place on 5/6 May. A "super moon" is a non-technical term for when the elliptical orbit of the Moon brings it closest to the Earth - astronomers call that position the perigee.

However, the resultant change in size is not enough to produce much of a visually discernible difference. The awesome looking photos being spread on Facebook, news sites and elsewhere, where the Moon appears several times larger, are the result of common depth-of-field photographic techniques and/or post-editing. Also, it may help to keep in mind that the Moon appears larger when near the horizon thanks to an illusion called the "Moon illusion".

Full Moons are beautiful though :-)