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The Story of Eclipses   By: (1841-1915)

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THE STORY OF ECLIPSES

SIMPLY TOLD FOR GENERAL READERS.

WITH ESPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN OF MAY 28, 1900.

BY

GEORGE F. CHAMBERS, F.R.A.S.

Of the Inner Temple, Barrister at Law.

AUTHOR OF

"THE STORY OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM"; "THE STORY OF THE STARS"; "A HANDBOOK OF DESCRIPTIVE ASTRONOMY," ETC.

LONDON: GEORGE NEWNES, LTD. SOUTHAMPTON STREET, STRAND 1899.

The rights of translation and of reproduction are reserved.

[Illustration: FIG. 1. THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN, Sept. 7, 1858 ( Liais ).]

PREFACE.

The present Volume is intended as a sequel to my two former volumes in the Newnes Series of "Useful Stories," entitled respectively the "Story of the Solar System," and the "Story of the Stars." It has been written not only as a necessary complement, so to speak, to those works, but because public attention is already being directed to the forthcoming total eclipse of the Sun on May 28, 1900. This eclipse, though only visible as a partial one in England, will be total no further off than Portugal and Spain. Considering also that the line of totality will pass across a large tract of country forming part of the United States, it may be inferred that there will be an enormous number of English speaking spectators of the phenomenon. It is for these in general that this little book has been written. For the guidance of those who may be expected to visit Portugal or Spain, a temporary Appendix has been prepared, giving a large amount of information showing how those countries can be best reached, whether by sea or overland, from the shores of England.

If anyone is inclined to doubt whether an eclipse expedition is likely to provide non astronomical tourists with incidents of travel, pleasant, profitable, and even amusing, perhaps the doubt will be removed by a perusal of the accounts of Sir F. Galton's trip to Spain in 1860 ( Vacation Tourists in 1860 , p. 422), or of Professor Tyndall's trip to Algeria in 1870 ( Hours of Exercise in the Alps , p. 429), or of Professor Langley's Adventures on Pike's Peak in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, U.S., in 1878 ( Washington Observations , 1876, Appendix III. p. 203); or of some of the many Magazine and other narratives of the Norway eclipse of 1896 and the Indian eclipse of 1898.

Subject to these special points no further prefatory explanation seems needed, the general style of the contents being, mutatis mutandis , identical with the contents of the Volumes which have gone before.

I have to thank my friend, Dr. A. M. W. Downing, the Superintendent of the Nautical Almanac , for kindly verifying the calculations in chapters II. and III.

G. F. C. NORTHFIELD GRANGE, EASTBOURNE, 1899.

CONTENTS.

CHAP. PAGE

I. INTRODUCTION 9

II. GENERAL IDEAS 11

III. THE SAROS AND THE PERIODICITY OF ECLIPSES 18

IV. MISCELLANEOUS THEORETICAL MATTERS CONNECTED WITH ECLIPSES OF THE SUN (CHIEFLY) 34

V. WHAT IS OBSERVED DURING THE EARLIER STAGES OF AN ECLIPSE OF THE SUN 40 The Moon's Shadow and the Darkness it causes 41 Shadow Bands 46 The Approach of Totality 49 The Darkness of Totality 53 Meteorological and other effects 54

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