Annular solar eclipse above Tokyo

Click on photo to enlarge.

We in Tokyo were very fortunate to have fleeting breaks in the clouds during the annular eclipse this morning at around 7:34 am. It was a very cloudy sky when the eclipse began, but most of us shot or saw the ring. The photos look dark, but the sky was actually quite bright throughout the eclipse even during the 5-min. ring. I thought the sky would be almost dark, but it was still bright. I live about 1.5 km from the shadow’s center, so I had the maximum 5-min. window to shoot the ring.

The eclipse was broadcast live by a few TV stations and one place monitored the reaction of zoo animals. They were pretty normal, after all, the sky remained quite bright throughout. I feel sorry for those who didn’t because of the clouds. People on Mt. Fuji missed it since the mountain was completely fogged over. People on a ferry going from Kyushu also missed it. (The clouds were thicker toward the ocean in the south.) A few men proposed marriage or gave a wedding ring to their fiance when the ring appeared. Around 15 people in Japan, including a few kids, needed medical attention for their eyes after viewing the eclipse.

In Japanese, annular solar eclipse is called kinkan nisshoku (金環日食), literally “devoured sun with golden ring.” Last time this occurred in Tokyo was 173 years ago in 1839. The next annular eclipse in Japan will be in Hokkaido in 2030. The next annular eclipse in Tokyo/Nagoya/Osaka like today will be 300 years from now.

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