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Partial Eclipse Seen Over Middle East, Europe

A view of a partial solar eclipse as seen from the town of Givatayim near Tel Aviv, Israel. A partial solar eclipse began Tuesday in the skies over the Mideast and will extend across much of Europe, 4 Jan 2011

Sky watchers in the Middle East and much of Europe are getting a rare treat Tuesday - a view of the first solar eclipse of the year.

The partial eclipse was first seen over Jerusalem. News reports have shown images of the sun with a darkened, curved upper section.

The percentage of the sun that appears to be obscured varies considerably depending on the location of the viewer. Astronomers say the most dramatic view is taking place over Sweden, where about 85 percent of the sun is being blocked.

However, cloudy winter skies have prevented viewers in Britain and several other countries from viewing the eclipse.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun.

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