LAHORE Various parts of the globe including Pakistan witnessed the longest partial solar eclipse on Friday. Besides Pakistan, the solar eclipse was seen in Africa, China, Sri Lanka, India, Maldives, Myanmar and other parts of the world. It was annular solar eclipse. Unlike total solar eclipses, it did not have the diamond ring. Instead, there was gold ring around the Sun because the moon was too distant from the earth to be able to cover the sun completely. When the eclipse reaches totality, one sees a ring (Annulus) around the moon. In Pakistan, it was the first eclipse of 2010. It started at about 10:48 am and continued till 02:16 pm. Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar witnessed it at approximately 11:30 am whereas it occurred in Quetta and Karachi at 11 am. In various parts of Pakistan, special prayers were offered during the time of eclipse to seek forgiveness from the Almighty. People buried their children in sand up to the neck at beach in Karachi and in sand along riverbanks in various cities to cure their diseases. Agencies add: The longest, ring-like solar eclipse of the millennium occurred on Friday in many countries, with astronomers saying the phenomenon will not happen again for over 1,000 years. US space agency NASA said on its website the eclipse was annular, meaning the moon will block most of the suns middle, but not its edges, causing it to look like a ring. This blockage lasted for 11 minutes, eight seconds, an annual duration NASA said would not be exceeded until December 23, 3043. When the solar eclipse occurs, Muslims perform a special prayer called Salatul Kusuf to acknowledge Gods power and thank Him for the blessings such as the regular timings of day and night. The Salatul Kusuf helps remind Muslims that eclipses are signs of Gods majesty. Solar and lunar eclipses were often feared by ancient people, seen as bad omens or causes of death and war. Religious scholar Dr Qibla Ayaz said that some people consider solar eclipse as a bad omen and there are some superstitions linked with it, which have historic background. But Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) in his address clarified that solar eclipse had no link with anybodys life and death and such conditions were natural phenomena. People believe that during eclipse, they can cure themselves from specific diseases by taking bath in river and some adopt precautionary measures. It was reported that some people hide their polio affected and paralysed children under the sand near the coast of Indus River. Astrologists in their predictions said the longest ever solar eclipse will bring problems during the year. Religious scholars said such superstitions should be opposed and there is need to make people aware that solar eclipse is a natural phenomenon. They believed that their children will be recovered by doing such practice. According to religious scholar Mufti Naeem, there is no threat to pregnant women during solar eclipse. The Moons shadow first struck the southwestern tip of Chad and western Central African Republic at 0514 GMT and then flitted across Uganda, Kenya, and Somalia. The lunar umbra, or shadow was set to cross the Indian Ocean, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Myanmar and China before expiring in the Shandong peninsula at 0859 GMT. Many amateur astronomers have taken time off work and spent a lot on money on travel to see it, said Lin Qing, head of the Sheshan Station of Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, told Chinas official Xinhua news agency. We will travel across China simply to witness the magnificent astronomical phenomena, Lin said. The eclipse, the first of its kind to cross over Sri Lanka since 1955, sent sea birds along the oceanside capital of Colombo looking for a place to roost for the night, shortly after lunchtime. A pelican looped over the city as the skies darkened from the north and the eclipse neared its peak. Wow, its marvellous, said an army officer, who was on security duty in Sri Lankas capital Colombo. This is the first time I have seen this kind of eclipse. According to astronomical websites, the last annular eclipse occurred roughly 1 year ago, January 26, 2009. The next one will happen May 20, 2012.