Washington: Skywatchers in parts of Africa, Europe and the United States will witness a rare ‘hybrid’ solar eclipse on Sunday- an unusual eclipse in which the Moon blocks the Sun – either fully or partially, depending on the location. The event is also known as the annual solar eclipse.
Interestingly, this will be the second solar eclipse falling in 2013 and fifth eclipse overall.
A hybrid eclipse usually starts and ends as an annular eclipse but appears as a total eclipse in the middle. However, today’s eclipse is rare as it starts as an annular eclipse and ends as a total eclipse.
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 total eclipse 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 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 partial eclipse close to sunrise at 6:30 am in the Eastern Standard Time Zone (1130 GMT).
How to observe the eclipse?
According to experts, one should use special protective lenses, camera, telescope filters and other methods in order to safely watch the eclipse. Another simple way to view a solar eclipse is to use pinhole projection. One can also use an approved solar filter.
Watch the eclipse live Astro enthusiasts can watch the live feed of the eclipse on the Internet-based space-tracking service. Slooh Space Camera website will live stream the eclipse online as seen from Kenya, where the sun and moon will form a total solar eclipse.