Total lunar eclipse, occultation occur for 1st time in 442 years

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The moon has a dark red hue during the total lunar eclipse, while Uranus, seen as a tiny white dot below the moon, is about to hide behind the moon in this photo taken in Otemachi, Tokyo, at 8:40 p.m. on Tuesday using an astronomical telescope.

A total lunar eclipse was observed across the country on Tuesday evening, as the Earth’s shadow completely eclipsed the full moon.

The celestial event coincided with a lunar occultation of Uranus, although that aspect was not visible in the Tohoku region and Hokkaido. The rare conjunction of the two astronomical phenomena has not been able to be seen in Japan for the past 5,000 years.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A total lunar eclipse is observed at Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture, at 7:41 p.m. on Tuesday.

The moon began waning in the eastern sky shortly after 6 p.m. The total lunar eclipse occurred for about 90 minutes from 7:16 p.m., during which time the moon looked dark red.

During the eclipse, Uranus became hidden behind the moon and could not be seen, a phenomenon that was observed in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka and other places.

According to the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the last time a total lunar eclipse coincided with a lunar occultation of a planet was 442 years ago, when Saturn was hidden behind the moon. The next opportunity to see the dual astronomical phenomena will be in July 2344, when another lunar occultation of Saturn occurs.