Our Astronomical Column

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    THE TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE OF AUGUST 9, 1896.—M. Deslandres, who was commissioned by the Bureau des Longitudes to proceed to Japan and make observations of the total solar eclipse visible there on August 9 last year, gives in La Nature for December 26 a short account of the expedition in general and a brief description of the results obtained. The station decided upon was the small port known as Yesashi, on the northern side of the island of Yézo, where the Japanese party under Prof. Terao and the American expedition were eventually located. During their stay of six weeks there were only eight fine days, so that the previous meteorological reports, which indicated the bad climatic conditions of the island at this season, were entirely corroborated. As we all know, the sky was cloudy during the time of totality, but the French party was more fortunate than the Norwegian observers, for their clouds were evidently not so dense as those which obscured the sun at Vadsö and Kiö. M. Deslandres, who was directing the observers under him, saw at a glance that it was useless to proceed in the programme previously arranged for under fine weather conditions. He therefore gave instructions that in the different instruments a single sensitive plate should be exposed for the entire duration of totality. Of the plates exposed, six showed the corona “plus ou moins fort,” while on the remainder nothing was seen after development. The negatives indicated dim extensions in the north-west, north-east, and south-west directions, but practically only the general distribution of the coronal light was shown. The images of Venus and Jupiter were also found recorded on two of the negatives. The eclipse of 1896, as M. Deslandres says, confirms the following law, indicated already to a certain extent in previous eclipses, namely, that the periodical variations of the spots which are followed by the prominences extend to the corona, and therefore also to the entire solar atmosphere.

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    Our Astronomical Column. Nature 55, 235 (1897) doi:10.1038/055235a0

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