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Archive for December 22nd, 2014

Annular solar eclipse (Matsudo, Chiba, Japan), by t-mizo. Image source: Flickr (Creative Commons BY 2.0)

Annular solar eclipse (Matsudo, Chiba, Japan), by t-mizo. Image source: Flickr (Creative Commons BY 2.0)

On this day in 1870, Pierre Jules César Janssen took a flight in a hot air balloon to study a solar eclipse. To give some background on Janssen, alongside J. Norman Lockyer, albeit separately, he discovered the element helium when observing an eclipse on 18 August 1868, in Guntur, India. I was unable to find any of the photos he took on the hot air ballon trip in 1870, so the above photo shows an annular solar eclipse, taken in Japan in 2012.

But so as not to cheat you out of an example of Janssen’s work, see below for a photo of Venus’ transit of the sun, taken in 1874. You can also see a (very!) short film thereof here.

The Transit of Venus, by Pierre Janssen, 1874. Image from the Royal Astronomical Society.

The Transit of Venus, by Pierre Janssen, 1874. Image from the Royal Astronomical Society.

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