Thursday, June 22, 2017

Total Solar Eclipse of January 1, 1889

Trivia: The Total Solar Eclipse of January 1, 1889, also known as the New Year’s Day Eclipse of 1889.

The path of totality began in the Bering Sea, crossed the North Pacific Ocean, passed through California to the north of San Francisco, through northern Nevada, Idaho, northwestern Wyoming, Montana, the northwestern part of North Dakota, and into central Canada, passing through southern Manitoba, and finishing on the western edge of Ontario.

The first photograph of a solar eclipse was taken during solar eclipse of July 28, 1851. But even with this technological advancement, most of the recorded observations of a total solar eclipse remained in the form of the written word and drawings. For the January 1, 1889 eclipse, a group of amateur and professional astronomers joined forces with a new photography society in San Francisco. They agreed to combine their resources to observe and record the eclipse. One example of the efforts was a photographic plate on which multiple exposures were made, showing many partial eclipse phases leading to totality.

On February 7, the group reunited in downtown San Francisco and presented their observations. The group enjoyed the experience so much that they agreed to form their own astronomical society, called the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP). Originally a society of forty members, the ASP has grown to a national society dedicated to astronomy education and outreach. The ASP helps people of all ages learn astronomy and helps those people share their knowledge with others.

You can learn more about the ASP at the society’s official website:


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