Sun to set directly above Saudi holy city today

Dubai: In a rare phenomenon, the devotees at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia`s Mecca will witness the sun straight above them, which will help worshippers worldwide to set the exact direction of the holy city.

The phenomenon to occur tomorrow is the first this year and will take place exactly at 2.48 pm IST, Majid Abu Zahira, head of the Jeddah Astronomy Association, told a local newspaper.

"This vertical solar phenomenon will happen for the first time this year and Mecca will be straight under the sun. This means all structures and bodies in the Grand Mosque will have no shadow at that time, it will be a zero shadow,"he was quoted by Saudi Arabia`s Sharq newspaper as saying.

Abu Zahira said the phenomenon would help Muslims around the world to know the exact direction of Mecca.

In Europe, Africa, Russia, China and East Asia, the best time to define Mecca`s direction will be around sunset by looking at the sun.