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Dubai solar eclipse a visual delight

A partial solar eclipse is seen over trees in Studencice January 4, 2011. The partial eclipse will be visible near sunrise over most of Europe and northeastern Asia. (REUTERS)

By Vicky Kapur

UAE residents caught a glimpse of the partial solar eclipse this afternoon through gaps in the partly cloudly sky.

The moon could be seen passing the sun and the earth over Dubai just after noon, creating a partial solar eclipse which lasted for a couple of hours.

It was the UAE’s first partial solar eclipse since 2008 and comes more than 11 years after the full eclipse of 1999.

Dubai Astronomy Group (DAG) says the next such event visible from the UAE will be eight years later, in 2019.

The year's first partial solar eclipse in images

In Dubai the event started at 12:11pm and lasted until 2:30pm Dubai local time, according to DAG, which had organised a free observation event at Dubai Mall, Burj Steps, for those interested in viewing the partial eclipse.

The solar eclipse in the Mideast began earlier in the day, when cloudy winter skies over Jerusalem on Tuesday showed a bite taken out of the sun's upper right section.

A solar eclipse happens when the moon lines up between the sun and the Earth. This casts a lunar shadow on the Earth’s surface and obscures the solar disk. During a partial solar eclipse, only part of the sun is blotted out.

According to astronomers, Western Europe woke up to a sunrise eclipse. In Madrid, a little more than half of the sun’s diameter was covered.

The greatest eclipse is occuring over Sweden, where about 85 per cent of the sun is said to be blocked.

The year's first partial solar eclipse in images