Viewing an eclipse of the sun using a projected image, 1845
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from the 'Illustrated London News', depicting a family observing the solar eclipse which occurred in 1845 by projecting an image through a telescope onto a large board. 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. For amateur observers, the technique illustrated is the only recommended means of observing an eclipse in complete safety without risking damage to the eyes.