Sunday, 3 November 2013

Rare solar eclipse in America, Europe and Africa


The moon shadows the sun as seen from Kigali (L) and Uganda yesterday

Rwandans turned skygazers as a spectacular hybrid solar eclipse swept across the Atlantic. From Rwanda, viewers saw a partial eclipse for a few minutes from 4.30pm. The eclipse swept across the Atlantic through the Congos and Pakwach in West Nile, Uganda, and northern Kenya, ending in southern Ethiopia and Somalia.

Pakwach provided one of the best views in Africa, with the sun turning into a crescent as the moon covered it. There was near-darkness in the area, but even those who viewed partial eclipse will not complain–it was historical.

It was first visible in the southern United States, before sweeping east across the Atlantic Ocean and the African continent.

The US space agency, Nasa, said the greatest total eclipse occurred over the Atlantic Ocean.

One of the best views was in northern Kenya, where tour companies organised trips to view a total blackout.

Local myths there attribute the event to the Moon eating the Sun.

Partial views were available in eastern North America and southern Europe.

This solar eclipse was a rare occurrence in that it was “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.

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.

Rare solar eclipse in America, Europe and Africa


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