SHAPLEY HEARD, NOT SAW, TOTAL ECLIPSE
University's Three Other Stations Had Perfect Conditions--May Spend Weeks Averaging Data
"The eclipse arrived just four seconds behind schedule as far as we can determine", said Professor Harlow Shapley of the University Observatory last evening, while commenting on the part played by University astronomical experts in observing the eclipse.
"Aside from that it was an almost universal success", he continued. "Three of our four stations experienced perfect weather conditions, and only at Buffalo did clouds interfere with our observations. We got 75 percent results from our efforts where we expected only 25 percent at the most."
Tel, and Tel, Cooperated
Professor Shapley said that he had been at Buffalo and was naturally disappointed by the interference of the clouds there, but he went on to say: "While I didn't see the eclipse, I heard it all across the country. The American Telephone and Telegraph Company had arranged special wires between seven stations, Buffalo, Ithaca, Poughkeepsic, Middletown, Easthampton, Northampton and New York City. As the period of totality approached, the operator at each station in turn, beginning of course with Buffalo, reported the weather conditions and the time. When the actual phase of totality set on a certain prearranged signal was sent both by telephone and telegraph to the next station in line.
"In this way each of us were kept informed of what was going on at the other stations, of the speed at which the eclipse was approaching, and of the weather conditions. This is the first time anything like this has ever been attempted."
Two Expeditions Heard From
Professor Shapley stated that he had received reports from two of the three other expeditions sent out by the observatory. He said, "Mr. Campbell, who headed the expedition to New London, reports that all the resources of Connecticut College were put at his disposal. There were 600 Wellesley girls also on the campus, but their proximity apparently did not interfere seriously with his solar observations.
"The sky was cloudy up to a few minutes before totality set in, but then cleared off beautifully. Miss Cannon, who was stationed at Vassar, reports the same excellent weather conditions. She comments especially on the conspicuous appearance of the shadow bands just before and just after totality, which wavered darkly over the snow. These shadow bands are weird meteorological phenomena about which we know very little.
Luyten Used Plane For Observation
"We have heard nothing from Professor King as yet, except the paper reports of clear skies at Nantucket where he was stationed. Another University observer, Dr. W. J. Luyten, viewed the eclipse from an aeroplane and wrote a report of his experiences for the Sunday papers."
Professor Shapley concluded by saying, "Of course we cannot tell for several weeks just what scientific discoveries will have been added to our knowledge of the sun and its eclipses. We hope, however, that our special study of the corona, conducted under very favorable conditions, will yield interesting results."