Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Rare 'hybrid' eclipse sweeps across the globe plunging parts of Europe, Africa and US into darkness

Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing drives as a rare hybrid solar eclipse takes place during the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 3, 2013
Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing drives as a rare hybrid solar eclipse takes place during the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 3, 2013
The moon crosses in front of the sun during a partial solar eclipse in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013
Partial Solar Eclipse takes place in Nairobi, Kenya, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. Kenya boasts it is one of the best locations in the world to view this hybrid solar eclipse, which according to scientists is a rare occurrence. The total phase of the solar eclipse will be very brief and will only be seen in Kenya for 15 seconds. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
This multiple exposure image shows the transition from right to left of a hybrid solar eclipse seen over Lake Oloidien near Naivasha in Kenya Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. A rare solar eclipse swept across parts of the US, Africa and Europe on Sunday with some areas witnessing a total blackout and others experiencing a partial version. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
The moon crosses in front of the sun during a partial solar eclipse as seen from the Givatayim Observatory, near Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. People gathered at the Israeli Astronomical Association center to watch the partial solar eclipse. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A rare 'hybrid' eclipse has swept across the globe blocking out the sun and plunging parts of Africa, Europe and the US into darkness.

The eclipse, which moved east after being first visible in the US this morning, is known as a 'hybrid' because the extent to which the sun is obscured varies dependent on where it is viewed from.

The view of it will switch between an annular and total eclipse throughout its journey.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth. In the case of a total eclipse the moon is at the right distance to completely block out the sun.

In an annular eclipse the new moon's apparent diameter is smaller than the visible circle of the sun leaving a ring of sunlight around the black circle of the moon.

A total eclipse lasted around 10 seconds in northern Kenya, whilst people in other parts of Africa saw a partial eclipse, dependent on their location.

People in America and southern Europe also saw a partial eclipse. According to Nasa the best total eclipse was visible at 13:51GMT in Gabon.

Astronomers warned people not to look directly at the Sun without taking safety precautions.

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