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News from 100 years ago

Mail Tribune 100, June 4, 1918

The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.

June 4, 1918

ONLY 250 YEARS TO NEXT ECLIPSE AFTER SATURDAY

Baker City, June 4 — Government astronomers here for the total eclipse of the sun June 8 are counting on clear weather for the success of their observations at the station here that has been constructed at the county fair grounds. The eclipse will begin at 1:17 p.m. and end at 4:15 p.m. Pacific time, but the period of totality will be but one minute and 53 seconds.

While cloudy weather prevailed during the first part of the astronomers’ stay here, it has cleared up for the past week and conditions are almost perfect in that regard. However the extreme dry weather and wind has filled the air with dust to such an extent that the astronomers are afraid possibly this may interfere with their work.

Cloudy weather on the day of the eclipse or other conditions producing similar effects will almost entirely nullify the five weeks’ preparation. However, meteorological records for the past 25 years indicate clear weather in this part of the country on the day of the eclipse, and it was this record of eastern Oregon June weather that led the party to select this location for their observation, coupled with the fact that Baker lies exactly in the center of the path of the eclipse.

J. S. Hammond, who is in charge of the government party, suggest that people desiring to make as much as possible out of the opportunity to see the sun in eclipse, prepare smoked glass by use of a candle or some other means, covering the smoked piece with another, fastened at the edges. This is easily prepared and is the most practical instrument. Ordinary smoked glasses such as is used for automobile goggles are not dark enough and would be of no use. Observers are also warned against looking at the sun with the naked eye before the eclipse begins to pass as this will so dazzle the eye that the effect of the corona, the most beautiful spectacle of the eclipse, will be spoiled.

The two things to watch for in the eclipse are the corona and the prominences and only with smoked glasses as described, can the ordinary observer meet with much success or gain results in any way self-satisfactory.

“It is a good thing,” said Mr. Hammond, “that nature’s creation of the solar system is just as it is. The corona, the most beautiful sight the human eye has ever beheld, is viable only at the time of a total eclipse and even then it would be impossible to view it if the moon were any nearer the earth of the sun any larger than it is. The proportion of size and distance of the two luminaries as compared to the earth are just right to make a total eclipse of the sun possible.”

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