May 28, 1900 The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, then based in Washington, D.C., loaded several railroad cars with scientific equipment and headed to Wadesboro, North Carolina. Scientists had determined that this small town would be the best location in North America for viewing an expected total solar eclipse, and the Smithsonian Solar Eclipse Expedition hoped to capture photographic proof of the solar corona during the event for further study. The team included Secretary Samuel P. Langley, Observatory acting director Charles Greeley Abbot and Smithsonian photographer Thomas Smillie. Smillie rigged cameras to seven telescopes and successfully made eight glass-plate negatives, ranging in size from 11 x 14 inches to 30 x 30 inches. At the time, Smillie’s work was considered an amazing photographic and scientific achievement.
Posted: 28 May 2017