On This Day In Space: July 28, 1851: First Photo of a Total Solar Eclipse

On July 28, 1851, the first-ever photo of a total solar eclipse was recorded by a Prussian daguerreotypist named Johann Julius Friedrich Berkowski. 

Daguerreotypy is an old photographic process that uses silver-plated copper treated with chemical fumes that make it light-sensitive. 

Johann Julius Friedrich Berkowski captured the first photographic image of a total solar eclipse on July 28, 1851, as a daguerreotype, but the first human records referencing an eclipse are thousands of years old. (Image credit: PD-US)

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Previous attempts to take photos of solar eclipses failed to show the contrast between the sun’s corona and the dark disk of the moon. 

Using a small, six-centimeter telescope, Berkowski captured an 84-second exposure starting right after the moon moved completely in front of the sun. 

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