Monday, 11 June 2012

I like stargazing

What is your hobby? One of my hobbies is looking at stars and planets in the night sky. This is called stargazing. I like to use my telescope, my binoculars and my camera. But, mostly, I just use my eyes to look up at the sky.

May and June of 2012 brought us 2 exciting stargazing events in the daytime. The first event was the solar eclipse. There are 4 types of solar eclipses:

A total eclipse--where the Moon completely hides the Sun.

An annular eclipse--where the Moon cannot completely hide the Sun around the edges. Annular means circular. You get a circle of light around the Moon.

A partial eclipse--where the Moon only partially covers up the Sun.

A hybrid eclipse--where depending on your location on the Earth and the angle of the alignment of the Sun, Moon and Earth, you can see both a total eclipse and an annular eclipse.

On May 21st, for a few hours in the morning, and annular eclipse was seen over many places in Japan. Unfortunately, it was not a total annular eclipse in Takamatsu, although other cities in southern and eastern Kagawa could see a pretty ring. I took this photo through the clouds from my apartment in Saiho-Cho. Luckily it was cloudy, because I was able to take this photo with only a dark filter on my camera. The clouds actually make it look cool.

Later, On June 6, Venus passed in front of the Sun. We were lucky in Japan, because we could see the entire thing. It lasted from about 7:15 in the morning until about 1:45 in the afternoon. It took more than 6 hours. This time, without a filter on my camera, there was no way to see it. The Sun is just too bright. I used the darkest camera filter you can buy. It is specifically made for taking pictures of the sun. This was my first time to take a picture of the Sun. The big black dot is Venus and the smaller dots are sun spots.

Finally, on the evening of June 4, there was a lunar eclipse. I was sad because I had to work and couldn't go out and see it. In the end, though, nobody in Takamatsu could see it because it was too cloudy. Typhoon number 3 was approaching Japan and brought many clouds with it.

One piece of trivia about solar and lunar eclipses is that they always come in pairs. Either 2 weeks before or after a solar eclipse, there will also be a lunar eclipse. It all has to do to with the way the Sun, Moon and Earth line up.