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Rare solar eclipse sweeps across the Atlantic

Total and partial solar eclipses viewed in parts of US, Africa and Europe, as moon covered the sun for a short period.

Last Modified: 03 Nov 2013 18:25
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Sunday's "hybrid" of annular and total eclipses was first visible in the southern United States [AFP]

A rare solar eclipse has swept across parts of the US, Africa and Europe with some areas witnessing a total blackout with others experiencing a partial version.

Sunday's "hybrid" of annular and total eclipses was first visible in the southern United States and then travelled across the Atlantic Ocean and Africa.

Partial views of the final solar eclipse for 2013 were possible in eastern Northern America and southern Europe.

"Throughout your life time, if you are living in the same place, perhaps you will be able to see once or may be twice a total solar eclipse. It's a very uncommon event for any given place on Earth," said Jose Afonso, Director of the Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Portugal.

In Lagos, Nigeria, some people have gathered on a beach to witness the event.

Safety precautions

Experts have warned people not to look directly at the sun during the hybrid eclipse without taking safety precautions.

Nairobi residents gathered for a monthly concert on Sunday and a chance to see a total solar eclipse.

Rebecca Narracott, who said she saw an eclipse once in the UK, is excited to see one in Kenya.

"My seven-year-old daughter came home from school on Friday with these glasses her teacher had given her and then I heard more people talking about it. So I'm really excited."

Despite rain and overcast skies residents of southern Gabon got a glimpse Sunday of a total eclipse of the sun, a rare phenomenon also visible in eastern Africa.

"I saw a black disc progressively cover the sun. It's magnificent," said Clarence Diledou, who lives of the port town of Port-Gentil.

At its peak over land in central Gabon, the sun was blocked out for about a minute.

In Kenya, the total eclipse lasted about 10 seconds.

The sun slowly changed shape from a golden sphere into a crescent, after the moon moved between the sun and the earth.

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