Photo: Mainichi Shinbun
A string of countries in Asia are experiencing a total eclipse of the sun today Wednesday. Here in Japan, the spectacular eclipse will be visible from Akusekijima Island for 6 minutes and 25 seconds from 10:53 AM, local time. It is actually the longest total solar eclipse visible from any inhabited area of the world this century, according to NHK World and other media.The eclipse started in India, and followed a track across China and Japan. It has gotten a lot of attention as it is the first total solar eclipse in Japan in forty-six years:
At the moment of total eclipse, the sky is dark, except for the sun appearing as a very bright ring around the outline of the moon, providing what is known as the ‘diamond ring’. We can subsequently get dramatic views of the corona ringing the sun. The sun is the source of life on this planet. A total eclipse abruptly deprives us of its light and warmth. The sun appears dark and there is a sudden drop in temperature. It is an event which plunges the earth into darkness and makes us keenly aware of the importance of the sun.
What could be more green than a billion people peacefully watching a celestial event? Well, for real fans of this event, Indian travel agency Cox & Kings chartered a Boeing 737-700 to allow passengers to see the eclipse from above the Monsoon clouds at 41,000 feet (12,500 metres). Unfortunately, there was no option to do the right thing for the environment, such as helping passengers to carbon offset their trip.
During the period of the eclipse, the opposite attracting forces are very, very powerful. From a spiritual point of view, this is a wonderful time to do any type of worship. It will bring about good results, much more than on an ordinary day.
At least here in Japan, there are many reports about school children who are getting their first glimpse of just how amazing astronomy can be. An eclipse can be a great lesson to spur interest in planetary science, and help teachers and parents find ways to discuss global issues including pollution and climate change.
Note that you should never look directly at the sun (sunglasses are not sufficient protection either).
Brought to you by Martin Frid at greenz.jp