Solar eclipse, 1871.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Illustration taken from the 'Illustrated London News', showing three stages of a solar eclipse; preceding, totality, and following the eclipse. 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.