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

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. ISSN 1440-2807


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.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences - Centre for Astrophysics (1 Aug 2018 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences - Centre for Astrophysics (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2020 23:46
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2020 01:14
Uncontrolled Keywords: early twentieth century eclipse expeditions; 1908 eclipse; 1910 eclipse; 1911 eclipse; coelostats; James Short; Francis McClean
Fields of Research (2008): 02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020199 Astronomical and Space Sciences not elsewhere classified
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/38601

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