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Skywatchers wowed by rare 'ring of fire' eclipse

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Skywatchers wowed by rare 'ring of fire' eclipse
Copyright  AFP
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People along a narrow band through West Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, India and the Far East had the privilege of witnessing a ring of fire solar eclipse on Sunday.

Annular eclipses, as they're known, happen when the Moon, passing between Earth and the Sun, is not quite close enough to our planet to completely obscure sunlight.

So it leaves a thin ring of light.

Melody Lin, a student in Taiwan, was pleased to have witnessed the phenomenon.

"I am very excited because the next time it happens in our very small Taiwan will be 195 years. It's such a rare opportunity. I am so happy."

After arcing eastward across Africa and Asia, it reached "maximum eclipse" with a perfect solar halo over Uttarakhand in India near the border with China.

Sunday's eclipse took place on the northern hemisphere's longest day of the year - the summer solstice, when the North Pole is tilted most directly towards the Sun

In Nairobi, East Africa, observers saw only a partial eclipse as clouds blocked the sky for several seconds at the exact moment the Moon should have almost hidden the Sun.