Saturday, July 25, 2009

Solar eclipse, Spaceman Spiff style

Nothing like a little solar eclipse to spice up an otherwise boring Wednesday at work.

Well, I guess I shouldn't say "little", as July 22 marked the "longest solar eclipse of the 21st century" — at 6 minutes and 39 seconds, the longest one I'll witness in my lifetime since there isn't supposed to be a longer eclipse until the year 2132.

The eclipse began in India and followed a path over China and the southern reaches of Japan.

Source: NASA

In Hiroshima we were too far away to see a total eclipse, but I heard we saw about 89 percent coverage. It's still rainy season and it's been raining an awful lot this year, but we were lucky enough to have a break from the rain on Wednesday and a clear enough sky that we could witness the event.

On the map above, Hiroshima is between Fukuoka and Kyoto, so you can see about what the eclipse looked like to us.

To view the eclipse, everyone at my school made special glasses out of poster board and film negatives that were doubled up and taped over the eye slits.

The time schedule was adjusted to let students out of class for the big event around 11 a.m. Everyone poured out into the courtyard and school grounds to watch. I used my cell phone to take a couple pictures of students with their glasses but apparently I forgot to hit the "save" button after taking them (typical), so the photos evaporated into the abyss. Oh well.

We looked like Spaceman Spiff.

I expected darkness to descend over the land, but it just looked like a cloudy day. Still, it was neat to see and cool to know that I got a chance to see this while everyone back home on the other side of the planet was in the dark (literally).


michaelpanda said...

alas, it was completely and totally overcast and rainy here during the eclipse so I saw nothing (although they had the TV on in the office over lunch showing the eclipse coverage).

Not fair! Once in a lifetime eclipse, and I couldn't see it. Stupid rainy season.

Oh well, I guess I could just wait until nighttime if I want to see the sky get dark haha

sixmats said...

It was rainy in Sendai too. I have CNN so I watched it on T.V.