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Weekend Partial Solar Eclipse: Clouds May Obstruct Views for Southern Africa Skygazers

On Sunday morning, a partial solar eclipse will pass in the sky over southern Africa. However, many could be battling the clouds in order to get a good view.

A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes in between the Earth and the sun. Although the sun is much larger than the moon, its closer proximity to the Earth allows it to block all of, or part of, the sun for a period of time.

Across parts of southern Africa, including the countries of South Africa, Madagascar and Zimbabwe, a partial eclipse is expected, where up to 40 percent of the sun could be blocked by the moon, according to timeanddate.com.

However, a high pressure system just off the eastern South African coast will bring an on-shore flow through Sunday, promoting some low clouds and even an early shower.

For the most part, scattered clouds are expected across the rest of the viewing area in southern Africa. The best viewing conditions will be in northern Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe into southern Angola and Zambia. These locations are most likely to be dry with the fewest clouds to obstruct the view.

Those interested in seeing the solar eclipse should be advised that it is not safe to look at the sun directly during an eclipse. Multiple options allow the eclipse to be viewed safely, including a pinhole projector and specifically designed eclipse glasses.

Up to 90 percent of the sun could be blocked by the moon in a few remote locations in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.

As per usual, a lunar eclipse will be the next big astronomical event to hit the globe following the solar eclipse this weekend. Roughly two weeks after a solar eclipse, a total lunar eclipse is expected on Sept. 27 and 28 in places from western Europe and Africa to South America and eastern parts of the United States.

AccuWeather meteorologists will continue to monitor the sky conditions for the end of September as the event approaches.