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Thousands Gather to View Rare Eclipse – Yahoo! News

(The crescent moon eclipse appearing over North Africa and the Middle East is a powerful portend…cd)
eclipse
Thousands Gather to View Rare Eclipse – Yahoo! News
MADRID, Spain – Thousands of people from northern Portugal to the heart of Africa donned protective eyeglasses Monday to watch the moon cover the sun like a black plate in a rare and spectacular eclipse.
Office workers and school children met at Madrid’s planetarium beneath a cloudless sky as the moon seemed to bite off the top of the sun, slide in front and leave behind a circle of fire. As the normally blinding light of the Spanish capital dimmed, the air chilled and the crowds whooped and applauded the first such event in 241 years.
“It was a beautiful sight. I won’t see one again,” said 68-year-old Isabel Balset. “I got very emotional and the tears just flowed.”
During an annular eclipse, the moon travels between the Earth and the sun, leaving a bright, fiery rim. The moon was 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.
The rim of fire that appears around the moon glows brighter than the corona that is seen during a total eclipse.
The spectacle began over the North Atlantic just before 11 a.m. local time (5 a.m. EDT), traveling along a narrow band girding almost half the planet. After a 3 1/2-hour stretch traversing northern Portugal and Spain, it moved south across largely deserted parts of Africa, encompassing Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia