Australian eclipses: Three 'men of science' and the Sydney eclipse of 1857

Article


Lomb, Nick. 2021. "Australian eclipses: Three 'men of science' and the Sydney eclipse of 1857." Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage. 24 (3), pp. 619-628.
Article Title

Australian eclipses: Three 'men of science' and the Sydney eclipse of 1857

ERA Journal ID30599
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorLomb, Nick
Journal TitleJournal of Astronomical History and Heritage
Journal Citation24 (3), pp. 619-628
Number of Pages10
Year2021
Place of PublicationThailand
ISSN1440-2807
Web Address (URL)https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2021JAHH...24..619L/abstract
Abstract

On 26 March 1857, a total eclipse of the Sun passed over Sydney, Australia. It was the first total eclipse to be seen from the town since European settlement in 1788. Three scientific men planned to observe the early morning eclipse: the Government Astronomer The Reverend William Scott from a lighthouse on the coastline, the geologist The Reverend W.B. Clark from high ground at North Sydney and the young astronomer John Tebbutt from his home at Windsor, a small town just outside Sydney. For observation they had small telescopes, watches and meteorological instruments; the spectroscopes and photographic cameras that characterized the next Australian eclipse 14 years later and subsequent eclipses were not yet available. When they found that clouds covered the Sun for most of the eclipse and throughout totality, all three diligently turned to examining the effects of the two minutes of sudden darkness on their surroundings. The public also knew about the eclipse and occupied all available high ground around Sydney on the morning of the event. Though they had been informed of the total eclipse, they were not warned about the dangers of looking directly at the Sun, as they would have been at more recent eclipses. However, most would have equipped themselves with smoked or coloured glasses to try to protect their eyes.

Keywords1871 total solar eclipse; annular eclipse 1851; Macquarie Lighthouse; Sydney Observatory; Windsor; Reverend William Scott; Reverend W.B. Clarke; John Tebbutt; corona; prominence
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020430302. Australian history
510199. Astronomical sciences not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsCentre for Astrophysics
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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