Historical Section Webinar
2022 May 14
(NOTE – NOT May 24 as advertised in the Journal Meetings Diary)
This Webinar starts at 2:00 PM
Link to join via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82119426303?pwd=cFF3Wm4xZ0x2YWNRTjdhQ2l1ckFKQT09
Link to watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/britishastronomical
We are delighted to welcome Dr Wayne Orchiston, a long-time friend of the historical section, and his wife Darunee Lingling Orchiston, to speak to us about Asian Observations of the 18 August 1868 Total Solar Eclipse
Dr Wayne Orchiston is Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at the University of Southern Queensland. He has wide-ranging research interests and has published 18 books and many research papers. Wayne is a former President of IAU Commission C3 and the Managing Editor of the Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage. Minor Planet 48471 is named after him.
Mrs Darunee Lingling Orchiston is a successful businesswoman in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and doubles as Wayne Orchiston’s part-time Research Assistant. She has a special interest in Thai astronomical history, and in Indian, Thai, Philippines and New Zealand indigenous astronomy.
In the history of astronomy the total solar eclipse of 18 August 1868 is regarded as a watershed event that led to a major breakthrough in solar physics. Thanks to immaculate timing, this event coincided with international developments in both photography and spectroscopy.
The path of totality extended from Aden in the west to Indonesia in the east, and at the optimal location totality lasted an amazing 6min 50sec. In this talk we will discuss some of the astronomers and instruments who ventured to present-day India, Thailand and Malaysia; compare and contrast their observations; and place these in international context. We will also describe how Thailand’s King Rama IV astutely used the eclipse as a political weapon to foil colonisation aspirations by both Britain and France.
[Teaser image: Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA’s GSFC]