Brief eclipse seen over Pa­cific Rim

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE -

Sky-gaz­ers in parts of the Pa­cific Rim ob­served an “un­usu­ally brief” to­tal eclipse of the Moon on Satur­day night, with the rare red-tinged satel­lite glimpsed from Ja­pan’s far north to the Hol­ly­wood Hills.

The eclipse — which oc­curs when the Sun, Earth and Moon are lined up so that the Moon passes through the Earth’s shadow — was seen in north­ern Ja­pan, parts of Australia, and parts of west­ern North Amer­ica.

The par­tial eclipse be­gan at 7:15 p.m. ( 1015 GMT) in Ja­pan and at around 8:54 p.m., the moon was to be fully cov­ered by the Earth’s um­bral shadow, ac­cord­ing to the coun­try’s Na­tional As­tro­nom­i­cal Ob­ser­va­tory.

U.S.-based Sky and Tele­scope mag­a­zine de­scribed the eclipse as “un­usu­ally brief.”

In the north­ern Ja­panese city of Sap­poro, some 200 peo­ple flocked to an ob­ser­va­tory to jointly ob­serve “na­ture’s great phe­nom­e­non” on Satur­day night, ob­ser­va­tory of­fi­cials said.

“We were so thrilled to see the beau­ti­ful moon eclips­ing and turn­ing red,” said Yuko Miura, an of­fi­cial at the city’s ob­ser­va­tory.

“We were wor­ried that the sky was slightly filmy, but we were re­lieved to watch the to­tal­ity from be­gin­ning to end.”

Res­i­dents of the Ja­panese cap­i­tal, how­ever, missed out as a re­sult of thick clouds, and many gave up on hopes of com­bin­ing a tra­di­tional cherry blos­som view­ing against the back­drop of the rare phe­nom­e­non.

Shin Ni­honkai Ferry said it would host an on­board event with more than 100 pas­sen­gers and the cap­tain would give them a brief lec­ture about the to­tal eclipse on the deck dur­ing the regular ferry ser­vice from Hokkaido to Fukui in cen­tral Ja­pan.

“The ocean is one of the per­fect sites for lu­nar ob­ser­va­tion be­cause lights are limited off- shore,” Cap­tain Shinya Naoi said ahead of the de­par­ture.

“I hope many of our pas­sen­gers will en­joy the rare spec­ta­cle,” he told AFP.

In Australia, rain and clouds af­fect­ing much of the east coast meant the eclipse could not be seen at the Syd­ney Ob­ser­va­tory, but sky- watch­ers fur­ther south in Mel­bourne had a clear night.

“It looked like it should look, quite spec­tac­u­lar if you haven’t seen one be­fore,” said Perry Vlahos from the As­tro­nom­i­cal Soci- ety of Vic­to­ria.

The red- tinged moon was clearly vis­i­ble in the early morn­ing skies Satur­day across the Los An­ge­les re­gion, cast­ing an eerie pall down Hol­ly­wood’s de­serted streets.

The city’s iconic Grif­fith Park ob­ser­va­tory, nes­tled near the Hol­ly­wood sign, was stream­ing the event live over the In­ter­net.

Last month a so­lar eclipse was vis­i­ble to vary­ing de­grees across north­ern Africa, most of Europe, north­west Asia and the Mid­dle East.

AP/Ky­odo News

A to­tal lu­nar eclipse is ob­served above cherry blos­soms in Shi­raishi city, Miyagi pre­fec­ture, north­east­ern Ja­pan on Satur­day, April 4.


(Top) Around 6:15 p.m. Taipei time, the moon be­gan to be vis­i­ble over the city. In this pic­ture, the moon is seen largely eclipsed through the clouds. (Above) The moon, par­tially eclipsed, is vis­i­ble over the skies of Tai­wan. At around 7:54 p.m., the moon be­came com­pletely eclipsed by the Earth’s shadow.

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