January 24 – Today in Connecticut History – A Total Eclipse of the Sun

ECHO underway, posted Monday, January 24, 2011

The images for this post are available at Connecticut History Online here and here.

Path of Totality.  Cool.

At this time of year when sunlight is all the more precious, a solar eclipse seems more an act of theft than a really cool event.  On this date in 1925, Connecticuters witnessed a full solar eclipse.

They had ample notice.  Governor John H. Trumbull had issued a proclamation on January 15:

On Saturday, the twenty-fourth of January, the people of Connecticut are to have an opportunity to witness a scientific event of the first importance–

A TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN

This phenomenon has been visible in New England only twice since the landing of the Pilgrim fathers, and only fourteen times in the last two thousand years.  On the present occurrence Connecticut has a particularly favorable position in the path of totality and astronomers and others are coming to our state from all parts of the world, to view a natural happening which affords so infrequent occasions for scientific study. 

I earnestly urge all school authorities and teachers, at some time prior to the coming of the eclipse, to devote a reasonable time for instruction and explanation of this unusual astronomical event; and to all others for whom it may be convenient I recommend that advantage be taken of this exceptional opportunity to witness a spectacle which is now engaging the attention of scholars and learned institutions of the world.  It is a manifestation of the enlightened age in which we live that solar eclipses are no longer regarded, as by the ancients and savages, as auguries of war and disaster, but as opportunities for scientific research, fraught with the possibilities of new fields of knowledge for this generation.

Frederick E. Turner, of 175 North Street in Willimantic, recorded the event with his camera.  Turner managed the A. S. Turner pharmacy on Main Street in that town, and appears to have been an amateur scientist:  he was also a member of the Mineralogical Society of America.

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