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Watch the nearly 120-year-old first recording of a solar eclipse

Watch the nearly 120-year-old first recording of a solar eclipse


Filmed in 1900

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The first video recording of a solar eclipse is now available to watch on YouTube. The clip, which lasts one minute and eight seconds, covers the totality of the eclipse, starting just before the Moon completely covers the Sun and lasting until just after it starts to move away.

This eclipse took place on May 28th, 1900, and it was recorded in North Carolina during an expedition by the British Astronomical Association. Magician Nevil Maskelyne recorded the footage using a telescopic adapter on his camera, which made the eclipse easier to capture.

Until it was released this week, the film was held in the archives of the Royal Astronomical Society. According to the society, this was actually the second time that Maskelyne tried to film a solar eclipse. After his first attempt in 1898, the film was stolen, and it hasn’t been seen since.

BFI, a charity organization that preserves and highlights films, restored the original footage to 4K quality, although you can only watch it in up to 720p resolution on YouTube. The team reassembled and retimed the film frame by frame, BFI says, after obtaining the footage.

Of course, it’s much easier to capture a solar eclipse now. The last one that was viewable the US was in 2017, and around 215 million people witnessed the event. The next solar eclipse that’ll cross the US will take place in 2024, so plan accordingly — otherwise, you’ll have to wait until 2045 to catch the next one.