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Solar eclipse 2012: Snow, clouds threaten eclipse on Mount Fuji in Japan

May 20, 2012 |  3:22 pm

Clouds were threatening a view of the eclipse on top of Mount Fuji in Japan. A crew of climbers at the peak, sponsored by Panasonic featuring its solar power technology, was battling fierce winds and snow atop the 12,388-foot peak.

But the camera crew was able to get a brief glimpse of a partial eclipse. "The weather up in the mountains are often very unpredictable," an announcer said.

Mount Fuji, the highest point in Japan, is directly under the full path of the annular eclipse -- one in which the moon blots out all but the sun's outer edge, blocking all sunlight except for a "ring of fire." ("Annular" means "ring" in Latin.) Southeastern Japan was expected to see the full annular eclipse around 7:34 a.m. local time, or 3:34 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

Luckily, other parts of Japan were seeing the sun at times. Anthony Weiss, a native of Florida living in Tokyo, interlaced his fingers waffle-style in front of the sun, showing an image of the moon eating sun on his neighborhood street. "The sun is definitely out," he told The Times.

The view from the Hong Kong Space Museum was grim, with a thick haze of clouds on its webcam.

In California, the eclipse will begin after 5 p.m. and  reach its peak during the 6 o'clock hour. Click here for specific times.

You can also watch the show from New Mexico. Near Albuquerque, the Petroglyph National Monument will begin its broadcast between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Pacific time and will see the maximum shadow between 6:33 p.m. and 6:38 p.m. Pacific, or 7:33 p.m. to 7:38 p.m. Mountain time.

Best place to view eclipse?

Among the attendees at the Petroglyph National Monument is Griffith Observatory Director Ed Krupp, who will be on hand to see the first "ring" eclipse visible from the continental U.S. since 1994. 

"All systems go," Krupp told The Times in an email. "We seem to be on track for clear sky. We still hope to grab the ring.

"Albuquerque is very mobilized for the event.... Actually, all of New Mexico seems to be alert to the state's felicitous eclipse location," Krupp wrote.

With NASA's eclipse website beginning to crash under the weight of eclipse frenzy, flat maps of the eclipse path by Jay Anderson, who runs the website Eclipser, are listed below. NASA has linked to Anderson's maps, and Anderson's website credits the eclipse tracks to NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak. Click on the images below or the following links to see a bigger map.

Usa1 United States Global track Global Track China1 Hong Kong China2 Taiwan / China
Japan1 Southern Japan Japan2 Central Japan Japan3 Northern Japan US1 California
US2 Nevada US3 Utah / Arizona US4 New Mexico US5 New Mexico / Texas


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