Kinkan Nisshoku in Japan – Annular solar eclipse

May 22, 2012 Juju Kurihara 0 Comments

On the 21st of May, early in the morning, in many parts of Japan people were waiting for one thing. The annular solar eclipse (金環日食/kinkan nisshoku). It had been 932 years since the solar eclipse in such a big scale could be seen in Japan.



Here is the photo report from Tomomi Kuramoto in Tokyo.





It was before 7 o´clock in the morning.On the way to the school, many kids were coming with their mums and dads who came before work. We all headed to the school, saying “this isn´t just for kids, we adults were also excited”.

We can´t see how the weather like from our flat window as there is a work on the apartment and the building is completely covered with the scaffold and the cover sheet. So when I saw a piece of the sun between the clouds when we stepped out the building, I was so happy and whooped more than my kids!



People came to the school ground by twos and threes, some fathers were in their business suits. The peak of the annular eclipse was going to be around 7:30 and the view time started at 7:15. We arrived just before, at 7:10. But the solar eclipse had already begun and the sun looked like a crescent.

Some part of the cloud was thicker than other part and the sun appeared sometimes and then hid itself behind the cloud. But this gave it a perfect effect and most of the elder kids were watching it with lots of interest.

Smaller kids were board, started running between the people or climbing up the climbing frame. They were having fun in their way.




It was almost impossible to find eclipse grasses in a shop the day before the event. There were many types and the ones we bought could see the sun in orange colour. There were also other colours such as white and green, it was quite interesting to watch the eclipse depending on the type of the grasses. The ones the school lent us were better which were made of glass and with those you could see not only the sun but also the outline of the cloud around it. It was beautiful to watch.

Some friends of my son Kengo brought the glasses made in their juku (cram school) which was written the time line of the eclipse; starting time, the peak and the ending time. Of course they had a logo of the cram school, haha.



 First I was just watching the sun disappearing apart from the rim then I realised that actually the black part inside is the moon. I was amazed. The humans are just a tiny part of the universe.

The next annular eclipse will be seen in Hokkaido in 18 years but the big one like this hadn´t happened since Heian period in 1080. And the next big one won´t happen another 300 years. Wow, how lucky to be here at this moment. We´ve been having a lot of difficulties in our life recently but seeing the annular eclipse has given me a positive sensation.




Where did you see the eclipse?




photo by Megumi Katayama


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