Once-in-a-Decade Hybrid Solar Eclipse Spotted Over Atlantic

The solar eclipse may have looked different, depending on where you were.

November 4, 2013, 10:21 AM

Nov. 4, 2013— -- Thanks to the winding back of the clocks this past weekend, it may have been a little easier to wake up and catch a glimpse at a rare type of solar eclipse.

It was the second solar eclipse this year, according to NASA. But unlike May's annular eclipse, where the moon stands directly in front of the sun but still leaves a visible ring of light, Sunday's eclipse was another breed entirely: a hybrid eclipse.

The hybrid eclipse is just that: a hybrid between an annular eclipse and a total eclipse, where the moon is just large enough to completely block out the sun, leaving behind a hazy corona visible. Due to the curvature of Earth, different regions along the hybrid eclipse's path will see it as either total or annular.

Hybrid eclipses are rarer than other types, accounting for a little under one out of twenty of all solar eclipses. The last hybrid eclipse occurred in April 2005, and the next one is expected in 2023.

Though the actual hybrid eclipse was best seen along a small section of Africa and the Atlantic Ocean, many people were able to catch a partial eclipse. Unlike total, annular, or hybrid eclipses, partial eclipses block a smaller fraction of the sun. A partial eclipse may not be the once-in-a-decade occurrence as is a hybrid eclipse, but it's still a welcome way to start out a Sunday morning.

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