A partial solar eclipse will be visible from much of Africa, as well as parts of southern Europe, the Middle East, North and South America and the Caribbean on Sunday 3 November 2013. The eclipse will first be seen at sunrise on the North American East coast, the Caribbean and northwest South America, then moving eastward be fully visible across much of the Atlantic, southern Europe and Africa, before setting in parts of the Middle East and East Africa.
The path of the 3 November 2013 Solar Eclipse. A partial eclipse will be visible from the shaded areas; in the lighters area the full eclipse will not be visible as it will have started before dawn (west) or will continue after sunset (east). The red lines are the equator and the Greenwich Meridian. HM Nautical Almanac Office.
Solar eclipses occur as a result of the Moon passing in front of the Sun as seen from Earth. The Sun and Moon appear roughly the same size from Earth, though this is coincidental, the Moon being considerably smaller and closer than the Sun. The Moon orbits the Earth every 28 days, but does not cause a Solar eclipse every month. This is because the orbit of the Moon is inclined to the orbit of the Earth about the Sun. Thus when the Moon is in the same part of the sky as the Sun it is usually either above or below it from our perspective (though it is effectively invisible at these times, since the Moon only 'shines' with reflected light from the Sun), with eclipses only occurring at those points in the cycle where the two orbital plains intersect.
See also The September Equinox, The Lunar Apogee, The Earth's aphelion, The Lunar Perigee and The Northern Solstice.
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