Australian eclipse expeditions: James Short and the eclipses of 1908, 1910 and 1911

Article


Lomb, Nick. 2020. "Australian eclipse expeditions: James Short and the eclipses of 1908, 1910 and 1911." Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage. 23 (1), pp. 26-46.
Article Title

Australian eclipse expeditions: James Short and the eclipses of 1908, 1910 and 1911

ERA Journal ID30599
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorLomb, Nick
Journal TitleJournal of Astronomical History and Heritage
Journal Citation23 (1), pp. 26-46
Number of Pages21
Year2020
Place of PublicationThailand
ISSN1440-2807
Web Address (URL)https://www.rtu.edu.ph/card/volume-23/
Abstract

Solar eclipse expeditions give us rare glimpses of astronomers of the past away from the routine work of their observatories, as well as the equipment that they used. In the early 1900s there were three eclipses in the vicinity of Australia and each time Australian astronomers were involved together with colleagues from New Zealand. The three eclipses were the 1908 eclipse observed at Flint Island near Tahiti, the 1910 eclipse observed at Port Davey, Tasmania and the 1911 eclipse observed at Vavau, near Tonga. The astronomical photographer at Sydney Observatory, James Short, was one of those who took part in expeditions to all three eclipses. For the Flint Island eclipse Short joined an expedition organised by British amateur astronomer and aviation pioneer, Francis McClean, as he did for the Tasmanian eclipse two years later, although this time there was also an official Australian expedition. At the Vavau eclipse there was an even larger choice of expeditions with two official British expeditions, an official Australian expedition and a private expedition organised by a former participant of McClean’s Tasmanian expedition. Short joined the last of these. Though there were some clouds at Flint Island in 1908 and at Vavau in 1911, some useful results were obtained, while the Tasmanian expeditions were, unsurprisingly, completely defeated by the weather.

Keywordsearly twentieth century eclipse expeditions; 1908 eclipse; 1910 eclipse; 1911 eclipse; coelostats; James Short; Francis McClean
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020519999. Other physical sciences not elsewhere classified
430302. Australian history
Byline AffiliationsCentre for Astrophysics
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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