Wow, the world really was in black and white back in the old days!!!
Mine's the one with the large telescope in it.
The first ever film of a solar eclipse, created in 1900 and once thought lost forever, has been found and restored by the British Film Institute and the UK's Royal Astronomical Society. Julius Berkowski was the first man to take a decent picture of a total eclipse in 1851 at the Royal Observatory in Königsberg, Prussia – an …
It's a bit late to buy Maskelyne a beer but we can certainly raise a few in his honour.
I'd raise a couple of points about the article though:
- I was surprised to find so many Nevil Maskelynes listed in Wikipedia and indeed to find more than one magician among them. It would have been good to give his dates in the article. Most of them seem to have been based in the British Isles.
- Comparing 'an expedition to North Carolina' with 'Maskelyne travelled all the way India' from the British Isles suggests a rather USAian focus. Central NC is about 6,600 km from London and central India is about 7,700 km (77 M linguine) according to gmaps. Both significantly long journeys for the late 19th century - but regular routes for the majority of the distance.
A really interesting article which caused me to start a little digging - I shall enjoy finding out more.
As it's Friday perhaps raise a few more -> in honour of the guys who restored the film and the author.
It's still a longer ship journey around Africa... shorter than the Cape route, but still longer than crossing the Atlantic. A quick measurement put it a 11-12.000km anyway. Then it depended on what liner companies offered as their standard routes - and at what prices.
Also traveling inside India in 1900 could have been more difficult than in North Carolina - depending on the specific place to reach.
It's still a longer ship journey around Africa...
But you'd not be going 'around Africa' at all. While crossing the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden you'd have Africa to the West, and the Arabian Peninsula, which is part of Asia, to the East.
BTW, here is a map showing travel times from the UK to Somewhere Else, in 1914. Most parts of India could be reached in less than 20 days; the eastern half of the US would take 5 to 10 days. At that time the Germans were involved in building a railroad from Turkey to Baghdad and the Iraqi sea port of Basra, which would have significantly shortened their travel time to what is now Tanzania; the Suez canal was not an option being under British control. WW1 put a stop to that, and the railroad was only finished, with British, French and some US involvement in the 1930's. Regular airline routes to India and beyond were getting established at that time but you'd still need the best part of a week to get there, with lots of intermediate stops; for instance Calcutta would take five days.
I'm not trying to suggest a direct route - and as Stoneshop has pointed out Suez was a thing by the time of Maskelyne's India adventure - but a comparison to show that we're not talking about an order of magnitude difference in distance.
What I was trying to suggest was that the introductory phrase 'all the way [to]...' might be followed by 'North Carolina' just as much as 'India' for a Brit at the time we're talking about. Both being quite a long schlep.
"Direct route? There were no planes in 1900 - getting to India required a far longer ship journey around Africa, or quite a hard and dangerous road travel."
He actually said "regular routes" and by that he meant there where more or less regularly schedules ships and trains for most of the distance travelled and had been for some years.
Was about to say fascinating, but you beat me to the post. Baaaaaah.
But I digress.
Quite fascinating, to see that they had the means to capture a solar eclipse back then. Must've been no mean feat what with all the equipment etc required, and the long journey involved.
My inquiring mind now want to know when was the first-ever porn movie made? Should be interesting, maybe one of El Reg's staff can have a look at it? Or even @alidabbs, seeing he did a column on sex quite recently (today).
As for the question :
I wonder how many other gems like this are hidden away moldering in some dusty archive.
Sadly, we will never know.
I was going to post the same thing.
I see you were down-voted. What would be the crime in using some software IS to make it less jumpy?
I guess the down-voter thinks the camera shake makes it look authentic? Like the fake camera shake crap that is cool now. They must have been a big Blair Witch fan?
If you will ever be within 200 miles of a total eclipse of the sun, GO SEE IT! Stay overnight if you must. Pictures don't express it, descriptions fall short. I finally saw one two years ago and I'll never miss another one on this continent. Our group were all wonder-filled geeks with good imaginations, and we were still blown away.
"So it gets dark and the sun turns black, so what?" It's NOTHING like dusk (dim light from sideways and often red-shifted) or a cloudy day (gray diffuse light). It's really weird. The light has the same spectrum, it still comes from above casting sharp shadows, the sky is still clear... but the light steadily fails. We all kept swiping at our eyes, it felt like something was wrong with them. It was blazing hot and blinding bright, but now we're standing in the open, cool and comfy without sunglasses.
Then the Shadow swept across the world. We saw it coming as distant clouds went dark, and the light dropped to its lowest. We lowered our sun shields and gazed in wonder at the black hole with wild white hair where our star used to be. It was like standing on an alien world, everyone felt that way. Far away past the edge of the shadow, we saw the world brightly lit by the sun. It's not just the occluded sun that makes an eclipse awesome. It's the total experience of the world turning very strange, birds going quiet, crickets starting to sing, and so on.
All too soon it was over. I looked down for some reason and saw a pattern of thin lines go racing across the ground. WTF? It was gone before I could get anyone else to look, but I heard from others who saw that phenomenon.
I hope I've inspired someone to make the effort one day. If you do, one word of advice. Take a quick picture or two to document the occasion, and STOP. You can download awesome shots from NASA later, better than you can take. You can't watch something so incredible through a stupid viewfinder. Watch and enjoy, don't play with cameras.
Nevil Maskelyne, the magician, was also behind the manufacture and sale of a typewriter that, like IBM's Executive typewriter, had proportional spacing. I've found pictures of the typewriter on the Web, but never any pictures of anything typed on it, so I could judge how good a job it did. I presume that's not something as thoroughly lost as his eclipse movie, though, even if I couldn't find it.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019