First Photograph Of A Solar Eclipse [Photo]

If you're planning to photograph the upcoming solar eclipse, you may want to thank the guy who did it first -- in 1851.
Photography was in its infancy in 1851, and the most common technique at the time was the Daguerreotype.  Astronomers were eager to have photographs of a total solar eclipse, which they could use to study the Sun's corona long after totality had passed, but Daguerreotyping a solar eclipse was an especially tricky business.

Timing was the key to a good Daguerreotype image. The quality of the image depended on how long the photographer exposed the metal sheet to light. Bright scenes didn't take much exposure, but for darker scenes, the process could take several minutes. Since the Moon shows up as a black circle, but the Sun is extremely bright, it was easy to overexpose one or underexpose the other, producing a totally useless image. As of 1851, no one had gotten it right.
The Royal Prussian Observatory wanted to change that, especially since the Observatory itself lay right in the path of totality for the July 28, 1851 solar eclipse. It hired an accomplished local Daguerreotypist named Johann Julius Friedrich Berkowski for the big event. He faced the technical challenge of his career.
Accompanied by a team of astronomers, Berkowski took an 84-second exposure of the Sun at the height of the eclipse, through a small refracting telescope at the  
Observatory. That Daguerreotype would prove to be the first properly-exposed photo of the Sun's corona, revealing five solar prominences erupting around the edges of black disc of the Moon.
Luckily for everyone, it's much easier to photograph a solar eclipse in 2017. Start with these tips. If you're lucky, your photographs may capture some solar features that you can't see with the naked (or eclipse glasses-wearing!) eye.

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