Solar eclipse sweeps Africa, Europe and US

Nov 03, 2013

Africans were treated Sunday to a spectacular solar eclipse that swept across the continent, while sky-gazers in the United States and Europe also glimpsed the rare phenomenon.

A could be seen over parts of Africa and one of the best views was in northern Kenya's Sibiloi national park, where a few hundred tourists gathered on the edge of the desert lake Turkana.

Alongside the tourists were colourfully dressed Kenyans from the Turkana, Rendile and Dasanach tribes, many draped in beads, who cheered as the sky darkened.

But dramatic weather almost spoilt the show, with sandstorms, rain, a rainbow and heavy cloud all minutes before the eclipse, an AFP photographer said.

Some tourists, fearing they would miss the sight, jetted off at the last minute, seeking a clearer spot on other side of lake.

In the end the eclipse, which lasted about 10 seconds in Kenya, was partially obscured by cloud.

Sky-gazers in Gabon, Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia were also treated to the total eclipse.

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

"But unfortunately the bad weather spoiled the party a bit."

The west African nation got peak viewing of the total eclipse as it swept over a path nearly 60 kilometres (37 miles) wide.

In Port-Gentil, families gathered together for the occasion along the sea front, facing the sun.

Like many in the town, Diledou used special glasses distributed by authorities to watch the rare event.

Those who did not have any came up with imaginative solutions, among them Pauline Koumba, who put a bowl of water in her courtyard and watched the reflected eclipse.

"I saw the brief passage of the eclipse in my bowl. But it was over quickly and the black clouds spoiled the effect," she said.

Families also gathered in Gabon's capital Libreville, where the eclipse was less spectacular, but where the skies darkened noticeably for about half an hour from 1330 GMT.

In the eastern United States, viewers caught sight of a lasting 45 minutes close to sunrise.

Partial views were also available in southern European countries Spain, Italy, Greece, and also in Iraq.

The round shape of the Earth explains why viewers in Africa saw a total eclipse, while those in the United States and Europe only saw the sun partly obscured.

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

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

Explore further: NASA engineer advances new daytime star tracker

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Eastern US to see partial solar eclipse November 3

Oct 29, 2013

(Phys.org) —For people in the eastern United States, the sun will rise half covered by the moon on Sunday morning, November 3, and the partial eclipse will last about 3/4 of an hour. Jay Pasachoff, Field ...

Recommended for you

NASA engineer advances new daytime star tracker

16 hours ago

Scientists who use high-altitude scientific balloons have high hopes for their instruments in the future. Although the floating behemoths that carry their instruments far into the stratosphere can stay aloft ...

Image: Sounding rockets launch into an aurora

16 hours ago

The interaction of solar winds and Earth's atmosphere produces northern lights, or auroras, that dance across the night sky and mesmerize the casual observer. However, to scientists this interaction is more ...

Gully patterns document Martian climate cycles

17 hours ago

Geologists from Brown University have found new evidence that glacier-like ice deposits advanced and retreated multiple times in the midlatitude regions of Mars in the relatively recent past.

Europe to resume satnav launches in March: Arianespace

17 hours ago

Europe in March will resume satellite launches for its troubled Galileo navigation system, hoping to boost by at least six the number of orbiters this year, Arianespace and the European Commission said Wednesday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.