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

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. ISSN 1440-2807


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.


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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: 15 Dec 2021 23:58
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2022 03:50
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1871 total solar eclipse; annular eclipse 1851; Macquarie Lighthouse; Sydney Observatory; Windsor; Reverend William Scott; Reverend W.B. Clarke; John Tebbutt; corona; prominence
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)
Fields of Research (2020): 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4303 Historical studies > 430302 Australian history
51 PHYSICAL SCIENCES > 5101 Astronomical sciences > 510199 Astronomical sciences not elsewhere classified
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
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1399 Other culture and society > 139999 Other culture and society not elsewhere classified
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280120 Expanding knowledge in the physical sciences
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/44798

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