Solar eclipse seen over the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, 15 March 1858.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from London Illustrated News, Vol 32, 1958. The picture, viewed from the Isle of Dogs, shows the Royal Naval College and River Thames in foreground. Solar eclipses have always inspired fascination, awe, and indeed terror in ancient times. In the 19th century, expeditions were dispatched around the world to make scientific observations of eclipses, and today a dedicated band of 'eclipse tourists' is prepared to travel to almost any location where the phenomena can be experienced.