Archive for Monday, October 3, 2005

Rare annular eclipse to cross Europe, Africa

October 3, 2005

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— A rare and spectacular eclipse will dim the morning sky today across a strip of southwestern Europe and eight African countries.

During the event, called an annular eclipse, the moon will mask the sun like a black plate, leaving a bright, fiery rim.

The moon will be too small to blot out the sun completely, as in a total eclipse, because its elliptical orbit has taken it too far from the earth.

However, scientists say the daylight will fade and temperatures will drop slightly as the eclipse travels along a band girdling almost half the planet.

The rim of fire that appears around the moon glows brighter than the corona seen during a total eclipse.

The phenomenon will not be visible from the United States.

The eclipse's 3 1/2 hour path first traverses Portugal and Spain.

It then moves on to Africa toward Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan, southeast Ethiopia, Kenya and the southern tip of Somalia. It ends with the sunset in the Indian Ocean.

Outside that band, a partial eclipse will be visible through protective eyewear over most of Europe, the Middle East, India and a large chunk of Africa.

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