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Solar eclipse,
and cosmos
(Aug. 2009)

A solar eclipse was observed on July 22, 2009. Although it was slightly cloudy in Hiroshima, the process of obscuration was observed. It was slightly dimmed around at 11:00, when 86% of the diameter of the sun was obscured at the maximum eclipse.

The year 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy celebrating the 400th anniversary of the first telescopic astronomical observation by Galileo. It is also 40th anniversary of the first human landing on the moon by Apollo 11. I was four years old at that time. I started to go to kindergarten that year, and July 21, when the live television was broadcast from the moon, was the beginning of the first "summer vacation" in my life. I remember that I played in the garden of my house since I could not understand the voyage of Apollo 11 well, and my mother called me to watch the television.

I introduce on this page, for these events, photos of the solar eclipse on July 22 and those about space discovery by the Soviet Union, which I took when I was studied in Moscow in September and October 1990, at the end of the Soviet era.

Solar eclipse on July 22, 2009

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The sun on the process of obscuration at 10:18, 10:43, and 10:59 at the almost maximum eclipse, from the left. The process of reappearance could not be observed since cloud covered the whole sky.

These photos were taken with Canon EOS KISS X2 and a telephoto lens of 75-300 mm. I did not use any special filter, and I took them when the sun was slighty covered with a cloud.


I observed the solar eclipse in the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. The above photo shows the scene around the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims in the park at the maximum eclipse.

The leaves taken with the eclipse on the above photos are of camphor trees. A lot of camphor trees are planted in the Peace Memorial Park. It is said that the first leaf bud after the atomic bombing appeared from a camphor tree. The camphor tree is nominated as the Tree of Hiroshima City.

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The shape of the obscured sun is observed from the sunlight through the trees at the time of eclipse, because of the principle of pin-hole cameras. I tried to take its photo this time, but I could not since the sunlight was scattered by the cloud.

The same effect is observed, as shown above, by small holes on a card and a ceiling illumination (right). I remember that felt mysterious in my childhood when I found this effect with an opening made by bending a finger.

Aerospace exploration and the glory of the Soviet Union

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The memorial museum of cosmonautics (Мемориальный музей космонавтики) in Moscow. The shape of the monument resembles the Soviet Pavillion in the EXPO'70 in Osaka*). The photo in the center shows the statue of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a pioneer of the astronautic theory. I appear in the right with a space suit. I was 25 years old at that time.

It is heard that the exhibition hall of the museum has been largely expanded**), while the monument still remains.

*) Please refer a page in Japan Train Lines & Stations.
**) Please refer the web page of the museum.

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The memorial museum of cosmonautics was nearby the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy (Выставка Достижений Народного Хозяйства, ВДНХ/VDNKh) in the north east part of the City of Moscow. The photo in the right shows the entrance gate of the VDNKh, and the right shows the Fountain "Friendship of nations (Дружба народов)"at the center of the VDNKh. The communist goverment seemed to succeed the tradition of European dynasties to show their authority by gorgeous constructions like the Palace of Versailles.

The VDNKh was reorganized to the All-Russian Exhibition Centre (Всероссийский Выставочный Центр, ВВЦ/VVC) and still open now. The gate and the fountain are alive even after the collapse of the communist government; The web site of VVC uses the photos of the fountain and the statue of farmers on the gate.

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The VDNKh also had the Cosmos Pavillion exhibiting rockets and the docking of Apallo and Soyuz Spaceships. The epigraph on the wall beyond the spaceships, in the photo in the right, says "Glory for heroes of socialist labor (Слава героям социалистического труда)."

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The photo in the left shows Gagarin Monument at Gagarin Square in Moscow. Yuri Gagarin, the first astronaut of the world, has always been a hero in the Soviet era and also after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The monument is of course alive now. The photo in the right shows a calendar featuring Gagarin, which I bought at a kiosk in front of the memorial museum of cosmonautics. The text in the left of the photo of Gagarin says "April 12, 1961 — the first flight of human being to the space."

I remember that I was in the same flight with an orchestra of Irkutsk on the way back to Japan at my stay in Moscow at that time, and a member of the orchestra said to me with a lamentation, "What remain in the Soviet Union are only art and cosmos."


I stayed at that time for my research work in the Digital Optics Laboratory of the Institute of Information Transmission Problems of the USSR Academy of Sciences. This laboratory is known as the digital processing of the first ground image of the Venus captured by the Soviet starship Venela. The above photo shows a panel illustrating a technology in the Venus exploration project in the laboratory.

The photos in 1990 was taken using Minolta SR-T101, Rokkor 50mm lens, and Fuji color negative film, and digitalized at a DPE shop in 2008. The color was digitally justified since the film was discolored.

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