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'Ring of Fire' eclipse delights millions in Asia, US (+video)

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Elsewhere, viewing parties were held at observatories in Reno, Nevada, and Oakland, California, while skywatchers gathered in coastal and forest counties in California. In some areas, special camera filters for taking photographs have been sold out for weeks in anticipation of the big event.

The eclipse was broadcast live on TV in Tokyo, where such an eclipse hasn't been visible since 1839. Japanese TV crews watched from the top of Mount Fuji and even staked out a zoo south of Tokyo to capture the reaction of the chimpanzees — who didn't seem to notice.

Eclipse tours were arranged in Japan at schools and parks, on pleasure boats and even private airplanes. Similar events were held in China and Taiwan as well, with skywatchers warned to protect their eyes.

A light rain fell on Tokyo as the eclipse began, but the clouds thinned as it reached its peak, providing near perfect conditions.

"It was a very mysterious sight," said Kaori Sasaki, who joined a crowd in downtown Tokyo to watch event. "I've never seen anything like it."

A Japanese zoo said the eclipse apparently made ring-tailed lemurs believe it was evening.

Some 20 lemurs at the Japan Monkey Center in central Japan skipped breakfast, climbed up and jumped between trees and poles, a typical evening behavior, according to the zoo web site. They returned to normal after the eclipse.

"They must be reacting to the eclipse," zoo director Akira Kato told public broadcaster NHK.

At the Taipei Astronomical Museum in Taiwan, the spectacle emerged from dark clouds for only about 30 seconds. But the view was nearly perfect against Manila's orange skies.

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