Partial solar eclipse visible over Mideast

January 4, 2011

A partial solar eclipse began Tuesday in the skies over the Mideast and will extend across much of Europe.

In cloudy winter skies over Jerusalem, the sun appeared to have a large bite taken out of its upper right section.

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

Western Europe woke up to a sunrise eclipse. Astronomers expected the greatest eclipse over Sweden, where about 85 percent of the sun will be blocked.

A sunset eclipse will be visible from central Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and northwest China.