Live Updates: Millions Await the Eclipse’s Dark Path Across a Continent

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Live Updates: Millions Await the Eclipse’s Dark Path Across a Continent


For centuries, people have strived to catch a glimpse of solar eclipses. From astronomers with custom-built photography equipment to groups huddled together wearing specialized glasses, this spectacle has captivated the human imagination.

In 1860, Warren de la Rue took what many sources consider to be the first photograph of a total solar eclipse. He recorded it in Rivabellosa, Spain, using an instrument called the Kew Photoheliograph. This telescope and camera combination was built specifically for photographing the sun.

Credit…Ann Ronan Pictures, via Getty Images

Forty years later, Nevil Maskelyne, a magician and astronomy enthusiast, filmed a total solar eclipse in North Carolina. However, the footage was lost and was only released in 2019 after it was rediscovered in the archives of the Royal Astronomical Society.

VideoVideo by Nevil Maskelyne/BFI.creditCredit…Nevil Maskelyne/BFI

Telescopic vision

For scientists and astronomers, eclipses not only provide an opportunity to view the Moon’s umbra and the Sun’s corona, but also make observations that advance their studies. Many observatories or friendly neighbors with telescopes also make their instruments available to the public during a solar eclipse.

Fredrik Hjalmar Johansen, Fridtjof Nansen and Sigurd Scott Hansen observed a solar eclipse during a polar expedition in 1894.

Women from Wellesley College in Massachusetts and their professor tested the equipment before their eclipse trip (to “catch old Sol in the act,” as the original New York Times article put it) to New London, Connecticut, in 1922 .

Credit…The New York Times

A group from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania traveled to Yerbaniz, Mexico, in 1923 with telescopes and a 65-foot camera to observe the solar corona.

Credit…The New York Times

Dr. JJ Nassau, director of the Warner and Swasey Observatory at the Case School of Applied Science in Cleveland, was preparing to travel to Douglas Hill, Maine, in 1932 to study a solar eclipse. An entire freight car was required to transport the facility’s equipment.

Credit…The New York Times

Visitors observed a solar eclipse at an observatory in Berlin in the mid-1930s.

Credit…Imagno, via Getty Images

A family set up two telescopes in Bar Harbor, Maine, in 1963. The two children placed stones on the base to stabilize it.

Credit…Associated Press

An astronomer examined equipment for a solar eclipse in a desert in Mauritania in June 1973. We owe his choice of equipment to the hot climate.

Credit…Jonathan Blair/Corbis, via Getty Images

Indirect light

If you see people sprinting into your local park on Monday with pieces of paper or a cardboard box on their head, they’re probably planning to reflect or project images of the eclipse onto a surface.

Cynthia Goulakos demonstrated a safe way to observe a solar eclipse in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1970 by using two pieces of cardboard to create a mirror image of the shadowed Sun.

Credit…Joseph Dennehy/The Boston Globe, via Getty Images

Another popular option is building a pinhole camera. This woman did this in Central Park in 1963 using a paper cup with a small hole in the bottom and a dual lens reflex camera.

Credit…John Orris/The New York Times

In 1967, amateur astronomers observed a partial solar eclipse from the roof of the Empire State Building, which was projected onto a screen by a telescope.

Credit…Neal Boenzi/The New York Times

In 1970, Irving Schwartz and his wife reflected a solar eclipse on a piece of paper in Central Park by holding binoculars to the edge of a trash basket.

Credit…Eddie Hausner/The New York Times

In 1979, children in Denver used cardboard observation boxes and pieces of paper with small holes to view projections of a partial solar eclipse.

Credit…Denver Post, via Getty Images

A crowd gathered around a pool of water stained with dark ink in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 1995, waiting for the reflection of a solar eclipse to appear.

Credit…Hoang Dinh Nam/Agence France-Presse-Getty Images

Staring at the Sun (or How Not to Burn Your Retina)

Eclipse watchers have used different methods to protect their eyes over the years, some safer than others.

In 1927, women gathered at a window of a building in London to watch a total solar eclipse through smoked glass. This was popularized in France in the 18th century, but fell out of favor when doctors began writing works on children whose vision was impaired.

Credit…HF Davis/Topical Press Agency, via Getty Images

Another trend was to use a strip of exposed photographic film, as seen below in Sydney, Australia, in 1948 and in Turkana, Kenya, in 1963. This method, even suggested by the Times in 1979, has since been declared unsafe.

Credit…Norman Brown/Sydney Morning Herald, via Getty ImagesCredit…Mohamed Amin/Camerapix

Solar eclipse glasses are a popular and safe way to view the event (as long as you use models that meet international safety standards). There have been various styles over the years, including these large handheld units found in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1979.

Credit…The Palm Beach Bost, via ZUMA

Parents and children watched a partial solar eclipse through their solar eclipse glasses in Tokyo in 1981.

Credit…The Asahi Shimbun, via Getty Images

Slimmer, more colorful options were used in Nabusimake, Colombia in 1998.

Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

1999 in France.

Credit…Patrick Aventurier/Gamma-Rapho, via Getty Images

And in 1999 in Iran and England.

Credit…Kaveh Kazemi/Getty ImagesCredit…Mirrorpix, via Getty Images

And what is the best way to see the solar eclipse? With family and friends at a watch party, like this one in Isalo National Park in Madagascar in 2001.

Credit…Francois Lochon/Gamma-Rapho, via Getty Images



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2024-04-08 10:20:14

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