Staff at the National Astronomical Observatory are calling for donations to help children in triple disaster-stricken Fukushima Prefecture view the annular solar eclipse expected on May 21.
The donations will go to providing the children with special transparent sheets needed to view an eclipse without damaging the eye.
The initiative was introduced by observatory associate professor Hidehiko Agata and other staff members to boost the Fukushima children's spirits following the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdowns.
"The viewing of such a magnificent astronomical event will inspire them. I hope the occasion will become a step toward overcoming the disasters," says Agata.
If the weather on May 21 is clear, the annular solar eclipse -- in which the moon obscures most of the sun -- is expected to be observable at various locations across Japan. In Fukushima Prefecture, where the phenomenon will be observed for the first time in 129 years, it will be best viewed from Pacific coast area at around 7:30 a.m.