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SYMHC Classics: A Handful of Eclipses in History

2021-08-07 | 🔗

Back in 2017 with the "Great American Eclipse" everywhere in the news, we walked through some of the famous eclipses in history, all while wearing proper eye shielding.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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on any jump came, and we talked about her making several trips to observe total solar eclipses and back and twenty seventeen. When we were each making plans to observe and upcoming solar eclipse, we recorded an episode on some solar eclipses in history, clear when we recorded that episode back and twenty seventeen. We of course had not actually seen the eclipse, yet the episode came out on Eclipse day and it was recorded beforehand, but now we have and having seen a total solar eclipse, which I did from events, its point in Missouri, I found any jump, cannons writing about her experiences truly moving and lovely, and I felt like I kind of bonded with her over our eclipse viewing experiences. So I wanted to pull that eclipse episode out for a classic today. We hope you enjoy Well go to stuff. You missed in history, class of production,
of Iheart radio. Hello or one s highway. Fried I'm tracing me well I see you know when everyone on earth is talking about. Is it eclipses how we ve reached its- eclipses all the time when we reach the point that my mom and her sisters are talking about eclipses on our family Yahoo group, which threshold in how many people are talking about something ray, and that is of course, because of the event that is being built, at least in the. U S is the great american eclipse which will have happened on the same day that this episode publishes August, twenty four, twenty seventeen. I suspect this episode will air after the eclipse actually happened right around it in terms of when it goes, live but Moreover, if people are into the eclipse, they're probably are watching the eclipse and not sitting summer listening to applaud
I must tell you that's where I will be. Is I'm travelling to a because we, you are near the law, if yes malady, I am ya, say who the Argo and on a trip? We have a law for seething planned, so for that, and we are not going to fill this with a warnings about how to carefully observe radically. So I hope you will have gotten over. before you may be looked up, but it seems like a great time to discuss some eclipses. history. There are a lot of eclipses that have been recorded through the ages, but today we're gonna talk about five of them. If we leave your favorite out our apologies, but we just want a kind of a sampling of eclipses and kind of their interesting points in Starck record and to be clear today we are talking specifically about solar eclipse is swim. The moon passes between the earthen sign and at least a portion of the sun is blocked. Casting a shadow on the earth. We are not
again, soon lunar eclipses, when the earth passes between the sun and the moon, which causes the moon to go, dark right, an error, What types of solar eclipse partial angular, total and hybrid and a partial eclipse occur. When the moon only obstructs a part of the sun, and this is often described as the sun. Looking as though there is a bite taken out, it angular means ring shaped. I don't know about you Holly, but that that eclipses, that I have seen so far apart aside from partial ones, have all been angular eclipses, which comes from the latter word analyse so an amiable and emulate eclipse is when the moon passes, front of the centre of the Sun but ITALY. The ring of the sun visible around the moon and a total eclipse says when the moon is close enough to the earth that, as it passes in front of the sun, the sun is completely blacked out. So there is not sliver or a ring around the outside, as in the case of the annual eclipse muscle
Corona is still visible, though there is not much talked about eclipse. That's happening that the day this episode airs, which is August twenty first of twenty seven team. That is a total eclipse yeah. Sometimes I have found in it when I was younger. to be a long time to really grasp the sound so fully as I say it, but the difference when an annual eclipse Emma a total eclipse, because you still see that coronal ring on a total eclipse anomaly, but you can still see anyone, know you're, seeing the son you're, seeing the light of this right Emily. But I'm seeing sunlight answer, but its that's. Yes, they'll see slow down and ass. We were planning our whole our trip. We were talking to the other folks, you're gonna be travelling with us, and I had. I was like ok, but I remember watching an eclipse at my elementary school and I had to go. Look that up invalid figure out what year was that one,
What's going on, it was an annual are eclipse than as ok. Now I also remember, watching one in our yard looks that way: so an annual or eclipse, and then I was like ok. Obviously, my memory is not a sharp, as I would like it to be. Regarding what eclipses I have seen ego mind, definitely is not, and the forced type that we mention a hybrid eclipse is one that appears to be a total eclipse, from one vantage point on earth in an annual or eclipse from another point on earth at the same time, and that has to do with where the moon is in position in relation to your position on earth in the position of the sun, so additionally, angular total and hybrid eclipses will look like partial. Eclipses from positions that are outside of the path of totality, so where you are in Atlanta, is here the path of totality, so we mostly covered up I also were kind of excited about this whole eclipse situation. If you cannot tell the old
known story of a solar eclipse also comes with a sad tale of two men who failed to predicted this particular event took place in China around twenty one, thirty, seven b c e, their actual. We some discrepancies as to whether or not that year is accurate writings in China from this period have described such events really quite poetically, as quote, Sun and Moon did not meet harmoniously. So to be clear, they were eclipses before this point, but we are talking about ones that were recorded. it was not the pressure that I mean not, they must have been but yeah. So China's mythology around eclipses was that they took place when a celestial dragon was eating the sun and in it This in that built around idea of scaring the dragon away to get the sun back. People would make lots of noise by bringing banging pots together playing and basically doing anything that would create the loudest sound possible sounds pretty fun.
The apocryphal story attached to this ancient eclipse involves two court astronomers ho and he their job was to predict any important celestial events and inform the four of them and ass. The story goes in this case. The emperor only learned of the eclipse event when he heard the banging noises of his people trying to frighten the mythical dragon. Naturally, this failing on the part of the astronomers who, according to legend word drunk when they should have been doing their jobs, was met with a great deal of anger on the. the emperor, and the story goes that they were then executed for their poor job performance. There is even a pretty unkind poem that often cited when the story is discussed and the poem goes here lie the bodies of home and he, whose fate those sad was visible being hanged because they could not spy the clips, which was involved.
I hope it is said, a love of drink occasion, dollar trouble, but this is hardly true. I think for drunken folks is suitable. This text is on a tribute it. We don't a who wrote it and it was likely almost certainly written long after the event in China by a western other just based on these sort of apocryphal stories of home, and he has led to this blanket assumption that these two men were incompetent, but there have been discussions of them in the historical record and China's phenomenal knowledge that was done in a few different works throughout the centuries. So, according to check these animals analyzed by later astronomers, in her had actually done a great deal of work on reforming the chinese calendar through their observations in their calculations and had made a lot more accurate eighteenth century
Englishmen, John Jackson, after doing his own research and analysis and pulling from translations of chinese animals as well as contemporary astronomy. Authors found that account suggested that this eclipse, if it's the one that the astronomers were pointing to, was very brief and he wrote in seventeen. Fifty to quote if the eclipse was really so small and so short, it is not to be wondered at the two astronomers he and who should not have observed it. Nor can any others hardly he supposed to have seen it, but part of the problem is that all of this is backwards engineering, an event that could have been just one of any number of possible eclipses that were referenced with an ancient chinese writings. The Jackson quote that we just trend is an analysis of one of those events which may or may not have been the one that sealed the astronomer states. So again, that is if this whole execution story is actually true. The eighty
be one proceedings and transactions of the scientific association includes the full text of an address that was given by the Reverend J T petty about the story, and he makes the case that, if you this story at its word, it really serves as a testament to how advanced China's astronomical knowledge was at the time. As part of his case, he says quote: China must have been pretty stocked with astronomers or she could not have afforded to sacrifice two of them. Had they been the astronomers in the empire. There lives would have been spared for future service, whatever their dereliction of duty. Yes, those poor drunken astronomers, maybe just gonna backdrop and next up we're gonna die about homers odyssey, but before we get into that we're gonna pause and have a well sponsor break the economy is confusing
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he's more reasonable than I am so you might want to listen to what he says: listen Dear Chelsea on the Isle of radioactive apple pie, gas or wherever you get your party ass on the new pod gas, the turning the sisters who laughed we looked behind the walls of mother Teresa, religious order, finding a culture of charity and prayer, suffering and purple of abuse and betrayal. You could not have a friend. This was specifically prohibited If you got to close them, somebody, it was really you are playing with fire. Can you truly give yourself to God earlier humanity get you first listen to their turning this. There's you left on the Iheart Radio, app apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast say it was written by homer. Around eight hundred Bc Ie, but it tells the story sat around twelve hundred BC centuries before this poem was actually conceived. in telling the tail of a disease, and his decade
long voyage. Homer might have recounted an eclipse that took place in eleven seventy eights BC the climate is a seer character within the narrative shares a prophecy about the doomed fate of Penelope suitors and ends with what some people believe. As a description of an eclipse quote, the sun has and obliterated from the sky and an unlock. An unlucky darkness invades the world in the story. The still very much alive Odysseus kills all of the suitors. During this event, in the early, of the twentieth century. Astronomers Carl Shock and Paul New Gebauer determined that the ionian islands would have seen a total solar eclipse on April sixteenth of eleven seventy eight b c e in this place did about one decade after the city of Troy was
right, but this idea was largely dismissed by critics, who felt that there was no way that homer could have had knowledge of such an event in written about it when it had happened several hundred years before his time, but this topic was revived in two thousand and when to Bio, physicists Constantino by coups us and Marcello o Magneto use software to analyze data they collected from this text. They combed through odyssey, a noted mentions of constellations and the positions of Venus and Mercury and the new moon, which happened the night before the prophecy and using all of that collected data, they determined the possible dates that could have matched the descriptions in the epic poem and their match was drumroll. Please April 16th, one thousand one hundred and seventy eight, but even in their paper,
which was published in two thousand eight by cruises and and go are very clear that it would be amazing and not terribly likely of homer knew about this event. They wrote quote the main implausible. Eighty in the conclusions is that they imply that the author of the lines in question was first interest in advanced astronomy. At a time when there were no traces left that the Greek had an interest in it beyond political purposes, an imposition detailed, astronomical data of events happening? Perhaps five centuries before him was paper, goes on to discuss the indications that homer was. just that interest in astronomy and then exit various improbable but not impossible means by which the knowledge of a historical eclipse could have made its into his sphere of knowledge, but they acknowledge that it's really hard a really hard case to prove, and they conclude with quote much. Research is needed before we can move beyond such speculations. We can only model
We hope to convince other scholars that the case against chokes Eclipse may have been too hastily closed and just inspire them to ponder. If the remarkable coincidence described in this paper may, in fact, not be coincidental at all, and to be clear they have definitely had detractors like they have had people right response papers that are criticising all of this. But it's an interesting idea to think about the next eclipse. It we're gonna talk about happened in eighteen, thirty six so on May 15th, one thousand eight hundred and thirty six. There was an annular eclipse that crossed over the United Kingdom in its totality and during this particular event, a characteristic of eclipses was identified and named for its observer, Francis Bailey, Francis Bailey was a british astronomer who had been born in seventeen, seventy four and initially he had gone to business and done quite well for himself, but at the age of fifty one, he retired from his work on the London Stock Exchange and writing, but
about annuities. Do instead devote his time to science that charms me alive. We do about this really wasn't like him out of the blue shift for its analyses that ok business time over now, when I think about the the night sky, he had actually- and interested in science and astronomy for quite some time and in eighteen, twelve which was five years before he left his finance work. He had been a driving force behind the formation of the royal astronomical society and in the founding of that society, which aims to promote research and astronomy. He was among colleagues such as John Herschel and Charles Babbage, or they one thousand eight hundred and thirty six eclipse Bailey wanting to see it at its best advantage. Travel to Scotland, day of the event was excellent: the sky was cloudless and Bailey's experience was related in a December ninth one thousand eight hundred and thirty six proceedings of the royal astronomical society, as he had spoken about it at their meeting.
and this is kind of long, but it's a relating of what he saw so bear with us on this lengthy quote. After a brief discourse on Baileys position and set up to watch the eclipse. This account in the proceedings reads quote here he was in expectation of meeting with something extraordinary at the formation of the analyse, but Imagine it would only be momentary and consequently that it would not interrupt the noting of the time of its occurrence in this. However, he deceived as the following facts will show for when the costs of the sun were about forty degrees asunder, a row of lucid points like a string of beads irregular in size and distance from each other suddenly formed around that part of the circumference of the moon. There was about to enter on the sun's disk this he intended to as the correct time of the formation of the annual is expecting every moment to see the ring of light completed round the moon
and attributing this charade, appearance of the moons whim, as others have done before him to the lunar mountains. Although the remaining portion of the moon circumference was perfectly, with a circular as seen through the telescope. He was somewhat surprised, however, to find that these luminous points, as well as the dark intervening spaces increased in magnitude, some of the contiguous ones appearing to run into one another drops of water. Finally, as the moon pursued her course, these dark intervening spaces were stretched out into long black thick parallel lines: joint, the limbs of the sun and the moon when all at once, they suddenly gave way and left the circumference of the sun and the moon in those points, as in all the rest, apparently smooth and circular, and the moon perceptibly advanced on the face of the sun after them
had crossed over the center of the sun. Bailey observed another surprise, according to his account quote, all at once, a number of long black, thick parallel lines exactly similar in appearance to the former ones, mention sudden He darted forward and joined the two limbs as before, and the same nominal were repeated, but in inverse order, so we witnessed the lines terminating in a curve line of bright bead switch vanished as the Emulous ended the formation of the beads. Is it not witnessed by other astronomers as well, several of which Bailey melted with an Bailey was right. It's the lunar geography you that causes these beads to form, as the sun outlines, the valleys and peaks on the moon. Surface said Emily, when only one beat is visible. This is called a diamond ring effect, as you can see the little corona of light and then one bright spot. So it looks like a sparkly ring. and no other astronomers did observe this happening. The bead effect is named for Bailey and while observing eclipse
after the one in May of eighteen, thirty six astronomers continued to look for Baileys beads as hallmarks of the eclipse process. Today, photos of eclipses are readily available in books and online, but that certainly was not always the case. So in a moment we are going to talk about the first photo of an eclipse, but first we will pause for a word from sponsor on July 28th, one thousand eight hundred and fifty one there was a total eclipse with the totality over Prussia and this particular eclipse is noteworthy because in preparation for the event, the director of the Royal observatory in Konigsberg hired as a for to capture it. Johan, Julius Friedrich. Rakowski was a skilled daguerreotypist and he was the man the observatory reached out to recast key. a small refracting telescope, in conjunction with the Helios amateur which is a telescope designed for measuring the apparent
Diameter of the sun and for measuring angles between celestial bodies are points. On the lunar surface. It took an eighty four second exposure, Wednesday eclipses totality began. what resulted was the first successful photo of a solar eclipse which included the visual capture of prominences emanating from the sun surface, when this image is tiny on those things when you think about a photograph and especially if you ve seen it online or in books you of like photographs eyes like a four by sit. This thing is little little its waste moment of the map. The moon, The original plate was only seven point: eight five millimetres in diameter and while the director of the our voters initially wrote about the groundbreaking photo without crediting brick house scheme. Eventually, the photographer slash to gear typist made his own prints from his plate. These prints slightly enlarged, but still quite small as a point of reference, the moons diameter and these prints was eight point, six nine millimetres. One of these prints
still exists and is in the collection of the inner University observatory and Vienna Germany, another set of prince from her Caskeys plates was ordered german astronomer, Carl Friedrich, Wilhelm Peters in eighteen. Ninety one and copies of the Peters France would go on to be used in textbooks and other publications. Today you can easily find were Caskeys iconic photograph on why and there are even some images of a human hand, holding a framed, a prince to illustrate how little this ground breaking photograph is with the frame included. Retire. You, like a couple inches that someone can just hold between their thumb and forefinger is very small. The last eclipse that will talk about is one. That's come too
known as Einstein's eclipse. It took place on May twenty, ninth of nineteen nineteen and several years prior to this eclipse, Einstein had published his now famous general theory of relativity for very broad strokes. The crux of the theory is that space can be curbed by the influence of gravity of any body with mass, and this was at odds with Newton's Pritchett which we have talked about on the upon cast before in which establish mathematical rules that apply to celestial motion and was more static and did not take into account something like a gravity band. Sir Frank Watson, Dyson Astronomer Royal of Britain, began to think about the possibility of testing the theory by observing light with gravity could distort space light passing through that space would also curve. But our son is so bright that we can't really see the way other stars light might be bent by the sun's gravity, and this led, to realize that the darkness of the sun, as viewed from earth during an eclipse, would offer an opportunity
to observe light bending, as it approached the sun's edge. If Einstein's theory was correct and Simon You may be wondering is photographs of previous eclipses in the decade since per Caskeys. First daguerreotype would have offered any evidence, but this bend and light is seriously slight. The photographs at that point were not of good enough quality to detect such a change, which really can we be analyzed with really quite precise measurement once it was determined, the eclipse would be that testing ground. Another british astrophysicist, Arthur Stanley, Haddington led the test and the first two months one thousand nine hundred and nineteen. He measured the position of the stars that the sun would be passing in front of during the predicted may eclipse for the eclipse at self he traveled to an island off of Africa's western coast and at the same time he died.
Another team of astronomers to Brazil's take measurements, and this was for coverage in the event that the island had cloud cover on May twenty nine, but as it turned out, both locations had a clear view of the eclipse. So there were two separate sets of measurements to use the eclipse lasted for six minutes during its totality in both teams took photo throughout that brief time and after the eclipse ended, Haddington gathered all the information and went back to England and spent the next several months, analyzing it harringtons finding such announced on November six. Nineteen nineteen vindicated Einstein and proved this general theory of relativity was correct. While they were certainly detractors who suspected the Edison had somehow falsified the data to support Einstein. This is water,
at the moment, the Maid Einstein Famous on November seventh, he was front page news and suddenly the german born physicist was the global poster child Virginias measurements taking during eclipses after nineteen nineteen continued to backup Einstein's theory and adding tins findings here, which is really cool. I did that somehow. I'm that growing up that piece of information that it was really an eclipse that made Einstein My head he's because he's such a famous figure I think it my head. He just fuel wow. This is an amazing theory. You're smart, I never think of him. As being you know, having detractors, of course he did not answer my weird take on it, but the yes. Those are a few stories of it says in history ass. He said there are many many more. I think the next eclipse doesn't happen until twenty twenty four years. Over still doing this by gas is seven years. We can keep it up or just if we want to talk about it,
this is something you see now and then, and we could do an eclipse survey episode and talk about a few more my tiger, our looter eclipses Peter people. Don't guess as excited about lunar eclipses Yeah cause they're, like authority, dark opening of the moon is quite, is dramatic, even though very cool and you'd have Saddam. It like a blood money, ass, amazing, yeah yeah, but their fascinating. I hope if everybody glistening watched it, whether in person or online or some other way one. I hope anybody that actually botched it in person was very careful with their vision, haven't anodyne camera, don't and is usually point your camera at the sun. Now there are so many things she puts it to be careful if, as I hope, you enjoyed it and if you you know missed it, the Good NEWS is we live in.
Information age group, it's gonna be online instantly array. Yeah pays them that's for joining us on a Saturday, since this episode is out of the archive and he heard an email address or facebook url or something similar over the course of the show that could be obsolete. Now our current email address is history. Podcast at I heart, radio dot com are old house to, firstly, militarist no longer works. You can find us all over social media at missed in history and you subscribe to our shadow on Apple podcast, Google, podcast, the Iheart Radio APP, and wherever else he listened, the fog casts stuffy miss than history class. Production of Iheart radio for more five cap from my heart, radio
by her radio cabin, my gas or wherever you listen to your favorite, show the economy is confirmed seeing it. It can be hard to know what to do with your money when things feel so volatile, so crack open your notebooks, because planet money summer school is here to help you master the basics of investing. I'm your host card, of course, and we brought in world class, refers to answer questions. Why is it better to buy a lot of once thought? Poor little of a lot of stocks or bonds, and is it ever too late to start investing, was in the planet, money from NPR on the Iheart radio up or wherever you get your pod.
Transcript generated on 2021-08-07.