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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/21

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THE COMING TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN.

the most important feature is the focal length or the size of the telescope. Since the photographic image of the corona will not bear magnifying without dispersing the available light, and thus blurring out the details of the picture, which is the most important feature to retain to the utmost, one can not use a short telescope and at the same time a magnifying eyepiece to enlarge the image by projection on a screen or on a photographic plate. The only alternative in order to get an image of large diameter is to use a long-focus lens. The effect of a difference of focus upon the image of the corona is well shown on Chart V, which gives a small corona (1) taken with a four-foot lens (Barnard), (2) with a fifteen-foot lens (Pickering), and (3) with a forty-foot lens (Schaeberle). The diameter is proportional to the focal length, but the difference of effect upon the details is very important. In the small picture the details of the corona near the sun are completely lost in the general light, while the coronal extensions from the middle latitudes are seen at a great distance from the sun—as much as one million miles; at the same time the polar rifts are distinctly marked, so that the pole or central line from which they bend is readily located. On the second picture the details of the polar rays are better brought out, but the extensions are shortened. In the third the region near the sun's edge has many interesting details very clearly defined, while all the extensions are gone. It is evident that each lens has its advantage, according to the details sought, and they ought all to be employed in the eclipse. The reproductions on paper by no means do justice to the original negatives, which make the distinctions even more pronounced than shown on Chart V.

Some amateur observers have telescopes but no mountings suitable for eclipse work, and many astronomical telescopes have good equatorial mountings at home which are yet unavailable in the field for lack of proper foundations and supports. The ordinary telescope balanced near the center, with the eye end subject to all sorts of motions which may happen through jarring and rough handling in the hurry of shifting photographic plates, makes a very poor eclipse apparatus. All telescopes of any length should be held firmly at each end, so as to be perfectly steady, since the least vibration ruins a coronal picture devoted to delicate photographic effects. There are two ways of accomplishing this, and only two. Dispensing with an equatorial mounting, the lens must be set permanently on a base, and light reflected from a mirror must be utilized, which shall be concentrated on a plate also placed on a fixed base. This is the method employed by Schaeberle in Chili, April 16, 1893, to obtain No. III of Chart V. There is no objec-