Early partial solar eclipse for 2011
Tuesday will witness the first partial solar eclipse of 2011.People standing across a great swathe of the Earth's surface will see the Moon take a big bite out of the Sun.
For north Africa and much of Europe, the event starts at sunrise, whereas in central Russia and northwest China, the spectacle occurs at sunset.
Northeast Sweden should get the best experience. At 0850 GMT, near the city of Skelleftea, the Moon will cover almost 90% of the Sun's diameter.
Skywatchers will have to have a high vantage point, however, as both celestial bodies will be skirting the horizon at that time.
As is always the case for solar eclipses, the public is being warned to take great care.
Viewing the Sun's harsh light should only be done through protective equipment - proper solar glasses and solar telescopes, or through a pinhole projection system.
In many places, professional and amateur astronomy groups will be setting up safe observing systems. In the UK, for example, there are a series of events tied into the BBC's Stargazing Live programmes.
Partial solar eclipses occur when the Sun and Moon do not quite align in the sky as viewed from Earth, and the deep shadow cast by the smaller body passing across the bigger one just misses the planet.
Nonetheless, the phenomenon will result in a dip in light, depending on how big a chunk of the solar disc the Moon can obscure. This effect will vary from place to place and in time.
Northern Algeria will be the first location to witness the phenomenon at 0640 GMT. In European cities like London and Paris, the eclipse will already be underway as the Sun rises, with the Moon covering up almost 70% of our star by 0812 GMT in the British capital, and 65% of the solar disc by 0809 GMT in the French capital.
The further east the event tracks, the closer it gets to local sunset. Central Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and northwest China will all observe an eclipsed Sun dive over the horizon.
LOCAL TIMES FOR SELECTED CITIES
|CITY||Eclipse starts||Eclipse Mid-point||Eclipse ends||Coverage of the Sun|
| Information courtesy of SkyandTelescope.com |
| London || sunrise || 0812 || 0931 || 67% |
| Madrid || sunrise || 0852 || 1006 || 47% |
| Paris || sunrise || 0909 || 1030 || 65% |
| Rome || 0752 || 0910 || 1038 || 61% |
| Cairo || 0902 || 1031 || 1206 || 44% |
| Stockholm || sunrise || 0942 || 1105 || 79% |
| Budapest || 0805 || 0928 || 1058 || 70% |
| Istanbul || 0908 || 1037 || 1212 || 63% |
| Tel Aviv || 0909 || 1041 || 1216 || 47% |
| Moscow || 1038 || 1204 || 1330 || 74% |
| Baghdad || 1032 || 1204 || 1335 || 42% |
| Karachi || 1404 || 1446 || 1525 || 3% |
Although there are three more partial solar eclipses this year, for Europeans in particular Tuesday's event is the key one. They will not get another chance to see so much of the Sun being covered up by the Moon until 20 March 2015.
The next total solar eclipse is in November 2013 over the South Pacific.