Cloud obscures solar eclipse in Russia

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Clouds and falling snow masked views of a rare solar eclipse for most residents of Russia and Central Asia, where the sun was obscured by up to 84 percent in some areas.

In Moscow, where the eclipse covered up to 81 percent of the sun, hazy clouds masked the sun in some areas, but enthusiasts gathered to view the eclipse from the Sparrow Hills viewpoint.

In the northwestern city of Saint Petersburg, the sun was expected to be obscured by 84.6 percent, with thick clouds standing in the way.

In Kazakhstan's capital of Astana, where the sun was obscured by up 53 percent, the eclipse was not visible due to clouds.

Rare snowfall also covered the sun in Tashkent, the capital of the Central Asian republic of Uzbekistan.

In Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, the sun shone brightly and some residents tried to view the eclipse through photographic film, but complained that they could not see anything.

The eclipse only covered the sun by up to 30 percent, the director of the the national institute of astrophysics, Khursand Ibodinov, told AFP.

"Only specialists are able to observe this through telescopes.

© 2011 AFP

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