First solar eclipse of 2011

GENEVA (AP) -- Wintry skies darkened over Switzerland on Tuesday morning, but Romanians were treated to a pinkish ethereal light and Swedes to a beautiful sunrise, as a partial solar eclipse that began over the Mideast extended across much of Europe. The solar occurrence was at its height over Geneva, Bern and other Swiss cities in the midmorning, then the grayness at the lower altitudes began to brighten a bit. As much as two-thirds of the sun slipped from view behind the moon, something that hasn't occurred in Switzerland since August 1999. The eclipse was first seen Tuesday over Jerusalem, where the sun appeared to have taken a large bit 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. [36 Shots + Video inside]

First solar eclipse of 2011
1. An employee of the Stefanik Observatory in Prague uses a projection shield to show the partial solar eclipse visible in the Czech capital during the morning on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. The partial Sun eclipse started over the Czech Republic at about 08:00 CET and it will last until 10:50. In the culminating phase, up to 80 percent of the solar disc was obscured by the silhouette of the Moon passing between it and the Earth. AP / Michal Kamaryt

First solar eclipse of 2011
2. Spanish tourists watch a partial solar eclipse in front of the Giza Pyramids, Egypt, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. A partial solar eclipse began Tuesday in the skies over the Mideast and will extend across much of Europe. AP / Amr Nabil

First solar eclipse of 2011
3. A Jordanian man uses his hand to show a reflected image of the partial solar eclipse, in Amman, Jordan, on Tuesday Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Nader Daoud

First solar eclipse of 2011
4. A Jordanian man watches through a telescope the partial solar eclipse, in Amman, Jordan, on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Nader Daoud

First solar eclipse of 2011
5. Israelis watch at a partial solar eclipse in the town of Givatayim near Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Ariel Schalit

First solar eclipse of 2011
6. A view of a partial solar eclipse as seen from the town of Givatayim near Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Ariel Schalit

First solar eclipse of 2011
7. A Lebanese worker, watchs through X-ray the partial solar eclipse, at the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, on Tuesday Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Mohammed Zaatari

First solar eclipse of 2011
8. A view of a partial solar eclipse as seen from Gaza city, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Hatem Moussa

First solar eclipse of 2011
9. A combo picture shows the different phases of a partial solar eclipse seen in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Petros Karadjias

First solar eclipse of 2011
10. A child uses a telescope, set by the Greek Astronomy Club to watch a partial solar eclipse outside outside the entrance of the Evgenidis Foundation's Digital Planetarium, in Athens,on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Petros Giannakouris

First solar eclipse of 2011
11. Children wear special glasses as they watch the first partial solar eclipse of 2011 on January 4, 2011 in Tunis. AFP/ Getty Images / Fethi Belaid

First solar eclipse of 2011
12. Tunisians observe the world's first partial solar eclipse of 2011 using a telescope on January 4, 2011 in Tunis. AFP/ Getty Images / Fethi Belaid

First solar eclipse of 2011
13. Kashmiri boatmen watch partial solar eclipse through a black film, at the Dal lake in Srinagar, India, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. People in parts of north India viewed a partial eclipse Tuesday as the moon crossed the sun's path. AP / Mukhtar Khan

First solar eclipse of 2011
14. A view of partial solar eclipse, seen through a black film in Srinagar, India, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Mukhtar Khan

First solar eclipse of 2011
15. Indians watch partial solar eclipse through an X-ray film on the banks of the Tawi River in Jammu, India, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Channi Anand

First solar eclipse of 2011
16. Indian women hold up photographic film as a filter to look at the solar eclipse from the historical Durgiana Temple in Amritsar on January 4, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Narinder Nanu

First solar eclipse of 2011
17. Kuwaiti men look through special filters at a partial solar eclipse in a cafe on the Gulf in Kuwait City on January 4, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Yasser Al-Zayyat

First solar eclipse of 2011
18. Salman Madhi, a 23-year-old Bahraini, watches a partial solar eclipse Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011, near the tower of the Bahrain International Circuit, in Sakhir, Bahrain, where the 2011 Formula One car racing season kicks off March 11-13. AP / Hasan Jamali

First solar eclipse of 2011
19. Saudi fully-veiled women wear special tinted glasses to watch a partial solar eclipse in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah on January 4, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Amer Hilabi

First solar eclipse of 2011
20. A Saudi boy wears special tinted glasses to watch a partial solar eclipse in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah on January 4, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Amer Hilabi

First solar eclipse of 2011
21. Saudis watch a partial solar eclipse through special tinted glasses in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah on January 4, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Amer Hilabi

First solar eclipse of 2011
22. A partial solar eclipse is pictured in the fog over the roofs in Vienna, Austria, on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Ronald Zak

First solar eclipse of 2011
23. People are silhouetted against light pollution in the sky before daylight beside telescopes setup up to view the partial solar eclipse from Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath in London, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. Cloudy skies hung over London on Tuesday morning, preventing a view from Parliament Hill of the partial solar eclipse. AP / Matt Dunham

First solar eclipse of 2011
24. A partial solar eclipse is seen through clouds over Stockholm, Sweden, on Tuesday,Jan. 4, 2011. ScanPix Sweden / Anders Wiklund

First solar eclipse of 2011
25. The Chairman of Stockholm Amateur Astronomers Nils Erik Nilsson observes a partial solar eclipse in Stockholm on January 4, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Leif R Jansson

First solar eclipse of 2011
26. A partial solar eclipse is seen through clouds beside the Hogalid church in Stockholm on January 4, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Frederik Sandberg

First solar eclipse of 2011
27. A partial solar eclipse is seen through clouds and snow flurries near Sarajevo, Bosnia , on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Amel Emric

First solar eclipse of 2011
28. A young woman observes a partial solar eclipse in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Petr David Josek

First solar eclipse of 2011
29. A statue is silhouetted against a partial solar eclipse in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Petr David Josek

First solar eclipse of 2011
30. People observe the world's first partial solar eclipse of 2011 on January 4, 2011 at the Zugspitze near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, southern Germany. AFP/ Getty Images / Tobias Hase

First solar eclipse of 2011
31. This year's first partial solar eclipse is seen through clouds over the Bakony Mountain in Marko, some 132 kms southwest of Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Lajos Nagy

First solar eclipse of 2011
32. A partial solar eclipse is pictured though the clouds framed by statues on the Vatican's colonnade, at the Vatican, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Riccardo De Luca

First solar eclipse of 2011
33. A partial solar eclipse is seen through clouds and snow flurries on Vodno Mountain near Skopje, Macedonia, on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Boris Grdanoski

First solar eclipse of 2011
34. A partial solar eclipse is seen above a cross of the Life-giving Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Moscow, on January 4, 2011. Europe was given a front-row seat to the first solar eclipse of 2011 only to find that in many places a thick curtain of cloud marred the spectacle. AFP/ Getty Images / Oxana Onipko

First solar eclipse of 2011
35. A woman uses a welder's visor to watch the world's first partial solar eclipse of 2011 on January 4, 2011 in Liptovsky Mikulas, central Slovakia. AFP/ Getty Images / Joe Klamar

First solar eclipse of 2011
36. The world's first partial solar eclipse of 2011 is seen on January 4, 2011 in Liptovsky Mikulas, central Slovakia. AFP/ Getty Images / Joe Klamar

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