Total solar eclipse, 18 July 1860

Warren De la Rue1862

The Royal Society

The Royal Society
London, United Kingdom

Plate from The Bakerian Lecture: On the Total Solar Eclipse of July 18th, 1860, Observed at Rivabellosa, near Miranda de Ebro, in Spain., by astronomer Warren de La Rue F.R.S. The lecture was read at the Royal Society on 10 April 1862.

Since late 1858, De La Rue had prepared to observe and photograph the phenomena. His research led him to set up his equipment at Rivabellosa where he would find the optimum atmospheric conditions to witness and record the eclipse. While in Russia, he had come across a Daguerreotype of the total eclipse of 1851 taken by Dr. Busch 'with the Konigsberg heliometer'. Although attributed to Dr. Busch, this would be, presumably, the daguerreotype commissioned by the Royal Prussian Observatory to Julius Berkowski, and the first ever photograph of a total solar eclipse. A 1900 article in The Observatory reports that Dr. Busch and the Director of the Observatory observed the eclipse and commissioned Berkowski to photograph it. Unlike Berkowski, De La Rue opted for collodion which he considered 'more sensitive and convenient' for his purposes'. The clear images illustrating the lecture were captured using the Kew photoheliograph (designed by De La Rue in 1854) the first ever instrument developed specifically for astronomical photography.


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