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It was a wonderful and impressive sight and well worth going a long way to see. The wonderful coloring of the sky and clouds and horizon, the weird tints on snow and buildings, and the eerie hue of the corona itself, are things that can never be forgotten.

Wayne, Pa., Feb. 6, 1925.



The total solar eclipse of today, January 24, was viewed by us from the grade crossing bridge over the tracks of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad just north of Jewett City, Connecticut, approximately longitude 72° west and latitude 41° 38′ north.

Here the total phase lasted well over a minute. Ten minutes before totality the thin film of cloud we were so anxiously watching began to pass away, but before it left the face of the rapidly diminishing sun one of the loveliest sights of the whole celestial event was seen. A rainbow-hued band resembling the solar spectrum, with straight, diffused edges running perpendicular to the horizon, the bars of colors parallel to the horizon, and outlined with a brilliant halo of light, appeared about 15° to the right and slightly lower than the lower limb of the moon. This spectrum seemed to come from beneath the cloud and was seen through it; it lasted for about thirty seconds-then the sun and moon rode out into the clear blue above.

Five minutes before totality Mercury, Venus and Jupiter shone forth, dazzling points of silver light against a cobalt sky.

Two minutes before the total phase shadow bands were seen racing over the snowy crust with great rapidity. At the moment of the sun's disappearance the moon's shadow fell with incredible speed apparently from out the sky itself, since no path was seen on the western hills. Instantly the corona showed forth. It appeared in the shape of a four-pointed star, its streamers longer to the right, its inner ring glowing with a strange, iridescent light against the dark ball of the moon.

With the binoculars the chromosphere could be seen, a brilliant, burning band against the white shining of the corona. All around the horizon we could see the indescribable glow of the golden light filtering in from the sunshineflooded world outside the shadow. Only one moment this lasted-a wonderful moment, never to be forgotten-and then the diamond-bright edge of the sun pushed out from behind the black disk of the moon.

It was over-but we felt indeed that "The Glory of the Lord shone round about"!



(From a Harvard student to his brother at Carleton.)

The trip surely was well worth the time, the inconvenience and the money. We got up at 4:00 A. M. (we meaning Truesdale and myself). At 5:45 we were pulling out of South Station on one of the twelve extra trains that took the crowd to Westerly, Rhode Island, and New London, Connecticut. At eight o'clock the train was pulling into Westerly. Just before we arrived we were able to see the beginning of the eclipse, but we were fearful lest clouds would ruin the "show of the ages." At Westerly the Board of Trade furnished trucks and automobiles to take us free of charge to the point of vantage. My but it was cold! We had dressed extra warm but still that did not keep our feet, hands and ears from

feeling the cold. About 15 minutes before the eclipse became total the clouds dispersed and we were left with a perfectly clear sky. It was interesting to look at the sun through old negatives as the moon steadily covered it. But no one would be able to give the exact description of what happened at the time of totality. Previously things had begun to look weird on account of the growing dusk. Suddenly instead of seeing a sight similar to a quarter moon, there was an intense white light and then the corona appeared. It was a sudden transfer from a bright light coming from a crescent to a dark object with small rays of light shooting out on all sides. At that time the stars were very plain, the clouds took on an appearance quite similar to that of morning or evening, in that they were crimson and then a soft violet hue. You could see the "shadow bands" on the snow, giving much the same appearance as do heat waves that you can sometimes see coming off a radiator or stove. Everyone was almost awestruck. I noticed a bird that was flying above the crowd. It seemed quite excited, for it flew in a circle just a few feet above the heads of the onlookers. Really, it was wonderful to look up and see the corona, and then, just as suddenly as it came, the round disk disappeared and once more things became light. Just as the sun emerged from behind the moon there was an intense white light very similar to what would be termed a white steel light. It was all over. People began to run to the road where the cars were waiting to take us back to the station. Everywhere you could hear people say that they would not have missed the sight for anything. There is as much difference in seeing a total eclipse in comparison with a partial eclipse as there is in seeing the sun itself and the sun as it is partially eclipsed.



A Rainbow Phenomenon.-During the total eclipse of the sun on January 24, which I saw under most favorable atmospheric conditions from the top of Mt. Beacon, nearly in the center line of totality, I observed some peculiar and beautiful rainbow effects over the horizon: Lowest a glowing red band, then a faint orange, a still fainter yellow and then a very vivid green streak, quite as glaring as the red and much stronger than the orange and yellow; above that a dull violet which gradually toned into the murky sky; quite different from the ordinary rainbow, where the orange and yellow appear stronger than the green.

The general explanation of the light phenomena on the horizon is that they are due to light from the sky outside the zone of totality filtering in. It seems to me however that this explanation is not quite adequate, as it cannot account for the reversal of the strength of the various colors.

I should imagine that ordinary reflected sunlight filtering in from outside coming in contact with light rays from the eclipsed sun is broken by it so to speak. Now the light emitted from the totally eclipsed sun on January 24 was almost entirely corona light rays, as the prominences were very faint compared with the radiance of the corona. I therefore believe that what I observed on the horizon was in fact a mixture of an ordinary sun spectrum and the spectrum of the corona, or rather a faint sun spectrum intermingled with or overlaid by a strong corona spectrum.

That I think would account for the phenomenon as well in its optical as in its physical aspects.

New York, Feb. 7, 1925.


(To be continued.)

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[To replace the poorer reproduc

Vol. XXXIII, No. 4

APRIL, 1925

Whole No. 324



To be in charge of an observatory situated in the direct line of totality of a solar eclipse entails a great and varied responsibility upon its director. The problems presented are far different from those which astronomers have to deal with who go on eclipse expeditions, and have only some particular astronomical question to handle.

First of all, we must consider the equipment of the observatory and decide how well it is suited to eclipse work of real scientific value. Then there are plans to be made for the students in the department of Astronomy who wish to share in the work and must be trained for special tasks. Next there is the much larger group of faculty, students, and alumnae who have an intelligent interest in the event and need well written and comprehensive directions for observing the various phenomena which can be seen. Finally there is the neighborhood, which may be as extensive as one wishes to make it. For us it included the city, the county and even the school children of the state. For these a different kind of publicity is required. The event is so unique, and of such extraordinary beauty as a spectacle of nature, that a vigorous effort should be made to interest everyone within reach.

It would take a great deal of space to give an account of all that was done at Vassar along these several lines, and much of it would not be interesting to the reader of POPULAR ASTRONOMY. Hence it seems best to confine the material in this article to the more strictly astronomical work done by the staff of the Observatory, the students in Astronomy and the alumnae and helpers from other places.

In making plans for the use of the twelve-inch telescope I called upon Dr. Miller of Swarthmore for advice, a veteran eclipse observer, who assured me that it ought to take very good photographs of the corona if used with a color screen, and gave suggestions for making a camera attachment. This consisted of a very simple arrangement of one box sliding within another, allowing room for a five by seven plate. The work for it was done by Mr. Lundin of Cambridge, and it was attached to the telescope by the local mechanician. A Wratten ray filter was obtained from the Eastman Research Laboratory, and Cramer Iso-chromatic plates were used.

The camera was in place and ready for use early in January, and the task of focusing it was carried out by Miss Laura Hill and Miss

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