The predicted path between India and Australia of the solar eclipse, 1871.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Illustration taken from the 'Illustrated London News'. Five diagrams of the Earth showing the path of the Moon's shadow from India to Australia during the solar eclipse of 12th December 1871, and the various times at which it could be observed. 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.