If you are going to China or Japan this year you may be in for a rare treat – two major astrological events are scheduled, an annular eclipse on May 21st and a transit of Venus on June 6th.
May 21st 2012 – Annular Eclipse
An eclipse is where the moon passes between the sun and earth, blocking out its light, but during this one in May the moon will appear smaller than the sun and a ring of bright light (annulus) will show around the edge of a dark circle – this is called an annular eclipse. In Asia it will be best seen in Guangzhou in China and Tokyo in Japan, but even though it is only partial this dazzling ‘ring of fire’ will still be blinding and the correct precautions with solar filters should be taken when viewing it – sunglasses or smoked glass do not give your eyes enough protection. At Guangzhou the partial eclipse will start just before 4am and finish around 11am, in Tokyo around 6am to 12 noon, and the peak of the annular eclipse will last around 3 and a half minutes at 5.08am at Guangzhou and around 4 minutes at 5.34am in Tokyo, although monsoon clouds common at this time of year may obscure the spectacle.
June 6th 2012 – Transit of Venus
Venus will pass between the sun and the earth and appear as a tiny disc across the surface of the sun – you will see better with binoculars or a telescope but you should still protect your eyes. Most of China and Japan will see the entire transit beginning from 5.10am on the 6th, when Venus will appear as a tiny notch in the north east quadrant of the sun, moving south west across the top half over the course of the morning. Even though Venus is much larger than the moon it is much further away and so does not eclipse the sun like the moon can. A fascinating phenomenum to look out for is the ‘black drop’, a string that seems to drift behind Venus as she meets the sun – it’s just an effect of irradiation in the atmosphere, but its appearance has confounded skyspotters for centuries. This will be the last transit of Venus anyone now alive will ever see.
For more information about private day trips in Guangzhou, China and Tokyo, Japan please email Tara@ReadyClickAndo.com or check our website at www.ReadyClickAndGo.com