Watching and recording a total solar eclipse can be relatively difficult even now, let alone 100 or more years ago. That’s because sunshine can be damaging to our eyesight if we don’t wear the proper equipment necessary for watching this spectacular event. That said, one person managed to make the first total solar eclipse video recording almost 120 years ago, and now it’s available on YouTube.
The video recording lasts a little more than a minute, but covers the entire process of the solar eclipse, starting from the moment the moon is starting to cover the sun, until its peak, and then moves away until it’s over. The first total solar eclipse video recording was made on May 28, 1900 in North Carolina. It was recorded by magician Nevil Maskelyne, as part of an expedition by the British Astronomical Association. Maskelyne used a telescopic adapter on his camera which helped capture better footage.
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His first attempt didn’t go as planned, however. In 1898 he went to India to make a photo of the eclipse, which succeeded. However, his film got stolen during the return journey and it was never found. He made the telescopic adapter himself, in order for the camera to capture a consistent video.
The video tape was released this week, however before that, The Royal Astronomical society had kept it in its archives. Of course, the video wasn’t very good quality, but BFI, a charity organization that aims to preserve and highlight films, managed to tweak the original footage to the 4K quality. Still, it’s only possible to view it up to 720p resolution on the YouTube video. Re-assembling the video took some time, as the team had to retime the film frame by frame, according to BFI.
Today, there is a great variety of tools which can easily capture the video of a solar eclipse. However, it’s still nice to know how recording such celestial events felt like many years ago, without access to all the technology that is available now. The total solar eclipse that was last viewed in the U.S. took place in August 2017, with 215 million people witnessing the event.
According to earthsky, the next total solar eclipse that will cover the North American skies will take place in 2024. That said, if you were out of the States two years ago and want to catch up on this event, you’ll have more than enough time to plan through until 2024. Otherwise, the next total solar eclipse after that will take place in 2045.
Did you see the First Total Solar Eclipse Video footage? What did you think of it?