Rare solar eclipse in America, Europe and Africa2 min read

A rare solar eclipse allowing a view of the Sun that is totally or partially blocked out by the Moon is under way.

It was first visible in the southern United States, and is moving east. The best view of the total eclipse on land was visible from Gabon.

The total eclipse will then sweep east across the African continent. Partial views will be available in eastern North America and southern Europe.

Experts warn that no-one should attempt to view the Sun with the naked eye.

A safe view of eclipses can be obtained by using special welder’s glasses or a pinhole camera.

Halo

This solar eclipse is a rare occurrence in that it is “hybrid” – switching between an annular and total eclipse.

In a total eclipse, the Moon completely covers the sun, while an annular eclipse occurs when the Moon is at its farthest from the Earth and does not block out the Sun completely, leaving a halo of sunlight still visible around the Moon.

An annular eclipse is when the Moon is too far away to cover the Sun completely, and retains a fiery halo - such as here in Portugal in 2005

An annular eclipse is when the Moon is too far away to cover the Sun completely, and retains a fiery halo – such as here in Portugal in 2005

The eclipse event began about 1,000km (620 miles) east of Jacksonville, Florida with an annular eclipse visible for four seconds at sunrise.

As the Moon’s shadow raced east the eclipse switched from annular to total along a narrow corridor.

The greatest total eclipse occurred in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 330km south-west of Liberia, and lasted for more than one minute.

On land, the best total eclipse was visible in Gabon, Nasa said.

“The eclipse will then continue across Africa through the Congos until it passes through northern Uganda and northern Kenya, ending in southern Ethiopia and Somalia,” said the International Astronomical Union.

Either side, a partial eclipse will be seen within a much broader pathincluding eastern North America, northern South America, southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

 

Main Image: Men and women from the Turkana tribe in Kenya took part in a ceremony ahead of the eclipse

Source: BBC 

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Sebastien Clarke

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