Solar eclipse of May 28, 1900

A total solar eclipse occurred on May 28, 1900. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon's apparent diameter is larger than the Sun's, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness. Totality occurs in a narrow path across Earth's surface, with the partial solar eclipse visible over a surrounding region thousands of kilometres wide.

Solar eclipse of May 28, 1900
Thomas Smillie - Smithsonian Institution - Corona of the Sun during a Solar Eclipse (pd).jpg
Totality photographed in Wadesboro, North Carolina, by Thomas Smillie for the Smithsonian Solar Eclipse Expedition to capture photographic proof of the solar corona
Type of eclipse
Maximum eclipse
Duration130 sec (2 m 10 s)
Coordinates44°48′N 46°30′W / 44.8°N 46.5°W / 44.8; -46.5
Max. width of band92 km (57 mi)
Times (UTC)
Greatest eclipse14:53:56
Saros126 (41 of 72)
Catalog # (SE5000)9281


In 1900 the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, then based in Washington, D.C., loaded several railroad cars with scientific equipment and headed to Wadesboro, North Carolina. Scientists had determined that this small town would be the best location in North America for viewing the total solar eclipse, and the Smithsonian Solar Eclipse Expedition hoped to capture photographic images of the solar corona during the event for further study.[1] The team included Thomas Smillie, the mission's photographer. Smillie rigged cameras to seven telescopes and successfully made eight glass-plate negatives, ranging in size from eleven by fourteen inches to thirty by thirty inches. Smillie's work was considered an amazing photographic and scientific achievement.[2]

In addition to the team from the Smithsonian:

[s]cientific expeditions were mounted from some of the world’s preeminent astronomy programs including Princeton University, the University of Chicago, . . . and the British Astronomical Association. S. P. Langley and C. A. Young, two of the founders of modern astronomy, were also there.

According to Wadesboro's newspaper, the Anson Independent, the public came out in droves. Extra trains—including a special excursion train from Charlotte—brought out hundreds of people, and by the time the eclipse’s effects were beginning to be seen around 7:30 a.m., the streets were packed, and people were vying for better spots from rooftops and windows..

The same local newspaper described the total eclipse itself as lasting for less than a minute and a half, and recorded that though a large crowd was on hand, it was nearly silent during that entire time. The paper also mentioned that the drop in temperature from the shadow caused by the eclipse was quite significant.[1]

The eclipse was filmed by Nevil Maskelyne in North Carolina.[3] It was also observed from Mahelma in Algeria by John Evershed.[4]

A map from 1900
The stars during total eclipse

Recording of the eclipse

Next Solar Eclipses in Central Europe (120° east of USA)Edit

Related eclipsesEdit

Solar eclipses of 1898–1902Edit

This eclipse is a member of the 1898–1902 solar eclipse semester series. An eclipse in a semester series of solar eclipses repeats approximately every 177 days and 4 hours (a semester) at alternating nodes of the Moon's orbit.

Solar eclipse series sets from 1898–1902
Ascending node   Descending node
111 December 13, 1898
116 June 8, 1899
121 December 3, 1899
126 May 28, 1900
131 November 22, 1900
136 May 18, 1901
141 November 11, 1901
146 May 7, 1902
151 October 31, 1902

Saros 126Edit

It is a part of Saros cycle 126, repeating every 18 years, 11 days, containing 72 events. The series started with partial solar eclipse on March 10, 1179. It contains annular eclipses from June 4, 1323 through April 4, 1810, hybrid eclipses from April 14, 1828 through May 6, 1864 and total eclipses from May 17, 1882 through August 23, 2044. The series ends at member 72 as a partial eclipse on May 3, 2459. The longest duration of central eclipse (annular or total) was 6 minutes, 30 seconds of annularity on June 26, 1359. The longest duration of totality was 2 minutes, 36 seconds on July 10, 1972. All eclipses in this series occurs at the Moon’s descending node.

Series members 42–52 occur between 1901 and 2100
42 43 44
June 8, 1918
June 19, 1936
June 30, 1954
45 46 47
July 10, 1972
July 22, 1990
August 1, 2008
48 49 50
August 12, 2026
August 23, 2044
September 3, 2062
51 52
September 13, 2080
September 25, 2098


  1. ^ a b "Wadesboro Prime for Viewing of 1900 Solar Eclipse". This Day in North Carolina History. N.C. Department of Natural & Cultural Resources. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  2. ^ Foresta, Merry. "Smillie and the 1900 Eclipse". Smithsonian Institution Archives.
  3. ^ "‘Captivating’ – BFI shares first footage of a solar eclipse from 1900" (retrieved 30 May 2019)
  4. ^ J. Evershed (1900-01-01). Solar Eclipse of May 28, 1900. Preliminary Report of the Expedition to the South Limit of Totality to Obtain Photographs of the Flash Spectrum in High Solar Latitudes. The Royal Society.