National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Celestial Ring


Celestial Ring

May 21, 2012. Throughout Japan, at homes, schools, workplaces and along commuter roads, many people looked up at the sky. A partial solar eclipse was visible throughout the entire country and an annular solar eclipse was visible in a wide area centered on the Pacific side. There was a great commotion across all of Japan as people tried to catch a glimpse of the Sun with a portion hidden behind the Moon, or a golden ring shape formed by the Sun and the Moon. On this day, at an observation sight blessed with a cloudless sky, the entire eclipse was successfully captured: from the beginning, through the full annular eclipse and until the very end.

On May 21, 2012, all of Japan was able to see at least a partial eclipse. The annular eclipse which turned the Sun into a ring was visible across a wide area including southern Kyushu, southern Shikoku, the southern part of the Kansai region, the southern part of the Chubu region, and the Kanto (Tokyo) region.

The NAOJ observation team working from Matsumoto City in Nagano Prefecture succeeded in photographing the moment it became an annular eclipse and the time of greatest eclipse. In addition, a series of photographs covering the entire 3 hours from start to finish was also successful. This picture was made by combining that with the scene surrounding the entire eclipse.

(Author: Tomoko Ono (NAOJ Public Relations Center))