SJAA Ephemeris November 2002 | SJAA Home | Contents | Previous | Next

November speaker Tony Misch

Bob Havner


The November 16th meeting will feature Tony Misch of Lick Observatory. Tony will be speaking on the early solar eclipse expeditions of Lick Observatory. This is a must see for those of you going to far away lands to view December 4th's eclipse!

In the Shadow of the Moon: The Eclipse Expeditions of the Lick Observatory

Until well into this century, the nature and causes of the sun's outer atmosphere, the corona, were poorly understood. Total eclipses of the Sun provided the only chances to study the corona and other phenomena. Opportunities to observe eclipses were eagerly pursued.

Beginning in 1889, a year after its founding, the University of California's Lick Observatory inaugurated a series of expeditions to observe total solar eclipses. The tradition of Lick eclipse expeditions would continue for more than forty years. Observers and instruments traveled many thousands of miles, often to remote and exotic locations, to place themselves in the path of an eclipse.

In addition to their scientific contribution, the Lick expeditions left invaluable written and photographic records of their travels. More than 200 images on glass plates showing the eclipse stations and their surroundings — many virtually forgotten since they were made — have recently been brought back to light.

The written and photographic records left behind by the members of the expeditions form the basis for the talk. It is largely pictorial, having first developed around Misch's rediscovery of the many glass plate negatives of the camps, instruments, and surroundings at the eclipse stations — most unpublished and long unseen.


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