Total Eclipse of the Sun

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Solar eclipse showing the Moon covering the entire Sun's disk, with light radiating from behind
Total eclipse of the sun.
Observed July 29, 1878, at Creston, Wyoming Territory.
(Plate 3.)

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The New York Public Library

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View of a solar eclipse showing the shadow cast by the moon covering the entire sun’s disk, with light radiating from behind. This phenomenon is described as follows by the author[1]:

A total eclipse of the sun is a most beautiful and imposing phenomenon. At the predicted time the perfectly round disk of the sun becomes slightly indented at its western limb by the yet invisible moon. This phenomenon is known as the “first contact.”

The slight indentation observed gradually increases with the advance of the Moon from west to east, the irregularities of the surface of our satellite being plainly visible on the border of the dark segment advancing on the sun’s disk. With the advance of the Moon on the sun, the light gradually diminishes on the earth. Every object puts on a dull and gloomy appearance, as when night is approaching; while the bright sky, losing its light, changes its pure azure for a livid grayish color.

  1. ^ The Trouvelot astronomical drawings manual. Trouvelot, Étienne Léopold. New York: Charles Scribner’s sons, 1882, p. 24.
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