21 March – 21 June 2016 in Florence, Rome, Naples, Palermo, Padua

The eclipse

ES1871P156958The reader will find three pictures on page 156 illustrating the eclipse which excited so great interest in the scientific world and which has added so little to our previous knowledge of the phenomenon. The first cut represents the eclipse as seen from Xeres by the American expedition. The other two engravings show
the members of the English expedition, at Oran preparing their instruments for observation. “The morning dawned ontinously,” writes a gentleman who accompanied e party: “light clouds blew across the sky, concealing the sun for many minutes together, and then allowing a few minutes’ examination of his face. The observers were at their instruments be times. Captain Collins practised with his polarimeter until he was able to record the amount of polarization of anything to which he directed his instrument, whether it was the shining roof of a cab or the glistening face of a little negro boy, and felt quite confident of getting as much polarized information from the corona as the instrument was capable of yielding.
The spectroscopists, Dr. Huggins and Mr. Crookes, were all the morning peering into spectroscopes, looking at the sun round the corner, and pricking down lines and colors by means of Messrs. Huggins and Grubb’s ingenious automatic register, until they too felt confident that they could record all the necessary spectra of the corona within the allotted two minutes and eleven seconds, and leave ample time for a good look at the general phenomena. The other observers, Mr. Carpenter, Admiral Ommaney, Captain Salmond, Professor Tyndall, and Lieutenant Wharton, had also practised up to the highest state of efficiency, when the clouds began to thicken, and twenty minutes before totality a dense black rain cloud completely covered the sun put an end to their hopes.”

 

Every Saturday, 1871, vol. 2, n. 60

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