Ring of fire eclipse comes to Japan

05/22/2012
By

TOKYO (majirox news) — People woke up early throughout large areas of Japan on May 21, donning special dark glasses and looked up at the sky to watch the eclipse. They anxiously waited for the clouds to clear.

The annular solar eclipse is when the moon passes in front of the sun, leaving only a narrow, golden ring around its edges.

Eighty-million Japanese were in the eclipse’s path, and a small number of lucky lottery winners were invited to a special viewing party on the roof of the Roppongi Mori building, 55 floors above Tokyo. But would the weather hold?

Eclipse sunglasses were selling out last week despite a gloomy forecast.

Nature and natural events have a deep cultural and mythical significance for the Japanese, and eclipses are no exception.

“The Sun Goddess had a fight with her brother and was hiding behind the rock from him,” said Masaaki Hiromatsu, assistant professor The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. “Then everything got dark, so people sang to bring her back. Then she came back.”

And then, finally, despite the gloomy forecast, the faithful were rewarded – with an amazing celestial sight — probably for the only time in their lives.

Hideyuki Honda, 33, who was at Observatory Deck, said, “It’s a beautiful view of Tokyo, especially at that moment when it went dark and got cold. It was a precious experience that I could experience here, in Tokyo, Japan. It has left me with a memory that I’ll never forget. I’m very happy.”

The viewers in Tokyo were able to see the full eclipse and the clouds moved away just at the right movement.

“It was truly amazing,” said a mother, who brought her young son with her to Observatory Deck.

The last time an annular eclipse was visible over Tokyo was in 1839, and the next time will be three hundred years from now.

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