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

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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