Geneva, Jan 04 (Agencies): Wintry skies darkened over Switzerland on Tuesday morning, but Romanians were treated to a pinkish ethereal light and Swedes to a beautiful sunrise, as a partial solar eclipse that began over the Mideast extended across much of Europe.

In Switzerland, the pall of clouds and light snow seemed like dusk with lights twinkling in cities — time in reverse just as people streamed off trains and buses to arrive at work. The solar occurrence was at its height over Geneva, Bern and other Swiss cities in the midmorning, then the grayness at the lower altitudes began to brighten a bit.

As much as two-thirds of the sun slipped from view behind the moon, something that hasn't occurred in Switzerland since August 1999.

The Swiss federal health office warned people to wear special eye protection rather than use homemade gear to see the eclipse.

Clear skies over southern Romania offered a chance to glimpse a pale pink, otherworldly glow that spread over Bucharest, the capital. People climbed atop snow-coated high-rise buildings to get a better view, or donned sunglasses and huddled outside subway stations in Revolution Square.

Some watched it televised live; Romanians won't see their next eclipse until March 2015.
The eclipse was first seen on Tuesday over Jerusalem, where the sun appeared to have taken a large bit out of its upper right section.

Western Europe woke up to a sunrise eclipse. Astronomers expected the greatest eclipse over Sweden, where about 85 per cent of the sun will be blocked.

Ten people had gathered at Henricson's observatory ready to check it out. Niclas Henricson, head of the Tycho Brahe observatory in southern Sweden, said Swedes only have such an opportunity about once every 45 years; their next full solar eclipse will be in 2126.

"It was beautiful," Christian Ander, a 31-year-old IT entrepreneur, said. "It was kind of like a sunrise."

A sunset eclipse will be visible from central Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and northwest China.