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Cloudy sky denies Nairobians chance to view ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse

Most Nairobians missed the chance to see the partial annular eclipse on Thursday after the dark cloudy skies covered the city.

The eclipse, dubbed the African ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse, was set to cast a vast shadow over the city which would have lasted from 10am until 1.38pm. The eclipse would have been strongest at 11.47am.

While some sky watchers in the city only got an unclear view, residents of other parts of the country posted pictures on social media showing the partial eclipse which was visible within a radius of 270km from Nairobi.

The annular eclipse covers part of the sun and only happens when there is a new moon, or when the moon is at or near its lunar node.

The annular eclipse as observed by residents of Bungoma. PHOTO | COURTESY
The annular eclipse as observed by residents of Bungoma. PHOTO | COURTESY


It can also occurs when the sun, moon and earth are perfectly aligned in a straight line or when the moon is farthest from the sun.

The event differs from a total solar eclipse in the sense that in an annular one the moon doesn’t completely obscure the sun since the moon is farther away from us, making it appear smaller.

The last total solar eclipse in Kenya was in 2013 in Turkana. The event lasted 15 seconds, throwing the area into partial darkness.

The event attracted the attention of many observers, including representatives from America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa).