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: SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

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

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

Spinning up a dust devil on Mars

Dec 19, 2014

Spinning up a dust devil in the thin air of Mars requires a stronger updraft than is needed to create a similar vortex on Earth, according to research at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

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.