Solar eclipse to sweep Africa, Europe, US on Sunday

Oct 30, 2013
People watch as the moon appears to cover the sun on May 20, 2012 from the Pueblo Bonito ancient building at Chaco Culture National Historical Park in Nageezi, Arizona

A rare solar eclipse will sweep across parts of Africa, Europe and the United States on Sunday as the moon blocks the sun either fully or partially, depending on the location.

The round shape of the Earth explains why some viewers in west Africa will see a total , while others in the United States and Europe will only see the sun partly obscured.

Regardless, experts said people should not look directly at the sun during the unusual hybrid eclipse unless they use special welder's glass or view it indirectly with a pinhole filter. Regular sunglasses will not protect the eyes enough.

The greatest part of the eclipse will take place at 1237 GMT over the Atlantic Ocean, some 330 kilometers (205 miles) southwest of Liberia, according to a NASA website that tracks eclipses.

The west African nation of Gabon will get peak viewing of the as it sweeps over a path nearly 60 kilometers (37 miles) wide. At its peak over land in central Gabon around 1350 GMT, the sun will be blocked out for about one minute.

"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.

The eclipse will last about 10 seconds in northern Kenya.

Weather permitting, partial phases of the eclipse will be in southern Europe, including parts of Spain, Italy and Greece.

In the eastern United States, viewers may catch a close to sunrise at 6:30 am in the Eastern Standard Time Zone (1130 GMT).

Experts say a safe way to view an eclipse is by making a pinhole camera—a 3 millimeter hole in one piece of paper—then turning your back to the sun and using the pierced page to project the image of the on another sheet of paper.

A map of the eclipse's path can be found at: u.afp.com/wi4 .

Explore further: Video gives astronaut's-eye view inside NASA's Orion spacecraft

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