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Last Updated: Monday October 03 2005 11:51 GMT

Fiery eclipse covers part of Sun

A dark shadow is being cast across much of the world on Monday, as the Moon partly blocks out the Sun.

It's sweeping across the Sun to produce a dazzling ring of fire, which can be seen from parts of Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The annular eclipse is much less obvious than a total solar eclipse, as the sky does not go completely black.

But experts still warned people not to look directly at the sun, as the bright glare can cause eye problems.

In the UK the annular eclipse began at 8.48am and ended at 11.18am.

In some parts of the UK, the Moon was seen to take a bite out of the Sun, with the largest part - 64% - being blocked out in the Plymouth area.

Space monster

But in Portugal and Spain, sky watchers saw a perfect fiery ring around the Moon - the first time this has been seen there for 200 years.

It is the fourth annular eclipse of the 21st Century. The next one will be on 29 March 2006.

The happening used to strike fear into people in olden times - some of them thought the sun was really being eaten up by a space monster!

Graphic showing progression of eclipse (BBC)