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"Once more Yale gets the jump on Harvard, this time not in the athletic field, nor because of the action of the authorities in University Hall, but because nature herself is conspiring against us, in making the eclipse January 24 total at Yale and not here," declared Dr. Harlow Shapley, Director of the University Observatory, who spoke to a crowd of 800 people yesterday afternoon at New Lecture Hall on "The Coming Eclipses of Sun and Moon."
First Eclipse Since 1806
"It will be the first total eclipse of the sun over Boston since 1806," continued Dr. Shapley, "and if the day is clear, it will be witnessed by ten million people, more than have ever before seen a total eclipse of the sun. Strangely enough, the eclipse will be total in the north part of New York City but not in the south, and in southern Providence, but not in the northern part of the city, where the Brown University observatory is located. Duluth, Buffalo, Rochester, Hartford, New Haven, New London and Nantucket will be among the places lying within the path of totality.
Several Colleges to Close
Such widespread interest has been aroused in the eclipse that several colleges will close and take their student body in chartered trains into the eclipse path. The financial value of the eclipse is also evidenced by the fact that weather insurance has been taken out at Middletown, Conn., where the largest number of astronomical parties will be located.
"As to Harvard, the University Observatory will make up for not being in the path of entire totality by sending observers to Nantucket, New London, Middletown, Poughkeepsie, and Buffalo. In addition the Cambridge station of the Observatory will carry out a special series of observations."
Harvard Sponsored First Expedition
Dr. Shapley also mentioned the fact that Harvard University sponsored the first eclipse expedition ever sent out from an American institution, which left Boston in 1780. After special arrangements with the British forces who then held the Maine coast, the astronomical party was allowed to land at Penobscot Bay, though it was forbidden to communicate with the inhabitants. The observations were successful and instructive, being of great value to mariners as well as astronomers, for at that time the moon's position was not so accurately known as now.
Navy Fliers to Observe
"Among many projects of commercial firms and amateurs for observing the eclipse, one of the most interesting is that of the Navy, which plans to send the Los Angeles, the new dirigible that recently crossed the Atlantic, with an equipment of photographic telescopes, spectoscopes, and probably a moving picture camera, out to sea to observe the eclipse. The exact spot, about 100 miles east of Montauk Point, L. I., where the Los Angeles will be when the two minutes of totality begin has already been decided on by astronomers from the Naval Observatory. The airship will probably not be over 6000 feet up, but this will probably be enough to get above the fog and low-lying clouds that are to be expected at this time of the year."
Dr. Shapley advised amateurs, who wish to observe the eclipse properly, to provide themselves with smoked glasses and an ordinary pair of field glasses. "Among the interesting things for which to watch," he continued, "are the directions shadow bands on the ground take."
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