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Annular Eclipse Hits Parts of Asia, Africa Friday

The sun's corona, or outer atmosphere, is visible during totality when the sun is totally obscured by the moon's shadow, 28 Mar 2008

People across Africa and Asia will have the chance to see a nearly total eclipse of the sun on Friday.

Sections of East Africa, the Indian Ocean and China will witness an annular eclipse, in which the moon passes directly in front of the sun but leaves a ring of sunlight flaring around its edge.

The U.S. space agency, NASA, says the eclipse will begin in the westernmost Central African Republic at 0514 UTC on Friday.

The eclipse will then be visible for short periods in Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, the Maldive Islands, southern India, northern Sri Lanka, Burma and China.

It comes to an end in China's Shandong Peninsula at 0859 UTC.

Larger sections of Africa, Asia and eastern Europe will see a partial eclipse, in which the moon blocks out only a piece of the sun.

The only other solar eclipse this year will be a total eclipse on July 11. NASA says that eclipse will be visible in the South Pacific, mostly over the open ocean.