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Rare solar eclipse makes its way across US, Africa and Europe

A solar eclipse has made its way from the US across the Atlantic ocean to Africa and parts of Europe. One of the best views was in Gabon, where people had the chance to experience a rare total blackout.

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Solar eclipse darkens skies

People in the eastern United States were the first to see a partial eclipse on Sunday, beginning with sunrise at around 6:30 a.m. local time (1130 UTC).

The greatest part of the eclipse occurred at 1237 UTC over the Atlantic Ocean, 330 kilometers (205 miles) southwest of Liberia, according to a NASA website that tracks eclipses.

Despite rain and overcast conditions, the skies over Gabon provided a rare opportunity to view a total eclipse of the sun. The eclipse crossed over an area nearly 60 kilometers wide, blocking the sun out completely for about a minute at its peak in central Gabon.

Residents were given special glasses through which to view the event by authorities.

"I saw a black disc progressively cover the sun. It was magnificient," said Port-Gentil resident Clarence Diledou to news agency AFP. "But unfortunately the bad weather spoiled the party a bit."

Afterwards the eclipse moved on through northern Uganda and northern Kenya. It was also viewable from parts of southern Europe, including Italy, Spain and Greece.

Experts say people should avoid looking directly at a solar eclipse without taking proper precautions. They say making a pinhole camera by creating a 3 millimeter hole in a piece of paper, then facing your back to the sun and using the pierced piece of paper to project the image of the sun on another piece of paper, is a safe way to view an eclipse.

dr/rc(AFP, dpa)

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