An annular solar eclipse occurs when the sun and the moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the Moon's shadow is smaller than the visible disc of the sun, making it appear like a ring of fire.
The spectacle, visible in a roughly 300-kilometre band running 12,900 kms across the globe, set a record for the longest annular eclipse at one point that will remain unbeaten for more than a thousand years. The Moon's shadow first struck the southwestern tip of Chad and western Central African Republic at 0514 GMT (10.44 a.m IST) and then reached Uganda, Kenya, and Somalia before racing across Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and China.
Partial Solar Eclipse Over Mauritius - January 15, 2010The eclipse, which was followed live on Indian cable television, also temporarily put a halt on the world's biggest religious gathering in northern India. Temples in Haridwar, site of the Kumbh Mela which sees millions of Hindus bathe in the holy river Ganges, were closed for the duration of the eclipse because the phenomenon is considered inauspicious.
Solar Eclipse Over Narobi, Kenya - January 15, 2010, 8.30 a.m Local Time
The duration of 'annularity' - the time the moon is in front of the sun - was 11 minutes, eight seconds at 0706 GMT (12.36 p.m IST), making it 'the longest annular eclipse of the 3rd Millennium,' according to Nasa. Only on Dec 23, 3043 will this record be beaten. The lunar umbra, or shadow was set to expire in the Shandong peninsula in China at 0859 GMT (14.29 p.m IST).
Partial Solar Eclipse over Ghaza City
A Perfect "Ring of Fire"