PARIS (AFP) – A partial solar eclipse began over Iceland yesterday as the rare celestial spectacle started to make its way east across a swathe of the Northern Hemisphere.
The partial eclipse began at 0858 GMT and will end off the coast of India at 1302 GMT, crossing parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East on its way, according to the IMCCE institute of France’s Paris Observatory.
Amateur astronomers must not stare directly at the eclipse, which will not darken the sky, and should instead wear protective glasses to avoid eye damage, experts said.
Solar eclipses occur when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, casting its shadow down onto our planet. A total solar eclipse happens when the Moon completely blocks the Sun’s disk, momentarily plunging a portion of the Earth into complete darkness.
However yesterday’s eclipse is only partial, and the “Moon’s shadow will not touch the surface of the Earth at any point”, the Paris Observatory said in a statement.
The Moon will cover a maximum of 82 per cent of the Sun over Kazakhstan, but it will not be enough darken the daylight, Paris Observatory astronomer Florent Deleflie said.
At least 95 per cent of the Sun needs to be obscured to get a “sense of darkness”, Deleflie told AFP.