Solar Eclipse July 28,1851












A solar eclipse is a sight to behold, we had a partial one a few years (2006 I think) back in London and myself and some friend gathered on the banks of the Thames to watch or rather to experience. I looked up (not recommended) at the sun as the moon passed across the sun and a strange and somewhat eerie twilight settled across the the Thames, the birdsong ceased and the ducks clearly thinking they in for a good nights sleep settled down.

Then as the moon cleared the sun the birdsong slowly reappeared and the ducks awoke and took to flight…it was just odd.

Anyway the photo above was taken in on July 28,1851 in Prussia (was a German kingdom coming out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. Prussia shaped the history of Germany its capital being Berlin after 1451, but it was during the late Victorian era that Prussia was increasingly merged into Germany and lost its own identity. and would be officially abolished in 1947) at the Royal Observatory in Königsberg. It was taken using the daguerreotype process developed by astronomers Franchois Arago and John Herschel.

The technical bit:

Berkowsky connected a six centimeter telescope to a 15.8 centimeter Fraunhofer heliometer. Berkowsky was then able to take a 84 second exposure photograph showing the total eclipse of the sun. Incidentally, the Royal Observatory has the largest heliometer in the world today and takes amazing solar photographs using a similar process. The result of the daguerreotype process was a photo, developed using hyposulphite of soda, just slightly larger than 12 centimeters that must be protected behind glass from air. The frame of the solar eclipse photo has had all air removed and the space filled with nitrogen.

It a wonderful image.