Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - 67

rear grounds of the White House in Washington. Businesses
throughout New York postponed opening. In an unprecedented move, the New York Stock Exchange (then still trading on Saturdays) delayed its opening by 45 minutes to let
its members watch the event - an extraordinary nod by the
world's most iconic financial institution to a celestial event
oblivious to financial matters.
A few minutes before 8 o'clock, some trained eyes thought
they could detect a tiny bite encroaching on the Sun's disk,
but not everyone agreed on where exactly it was. Then the cry
went out as if from an enormous choir: "There it is!" The big
show had begun. But the initial excitement soon gave way to
boredom, as nothing special was yet to be seen other than
the slow advance of the Moon's black silhouette over the Sun.
When about a third of the Sun's face was covered, some people
noticed that the city streetlights had been turned on. They
were barely visible in the still-bright sunlight but became more
noticeable as the eclipse progressed, neatly outlining the city's
grid of streets and avenues. The tension among the crowds
now heightened as the real show was nearing.
As the moment of totality approached, the throngs fell
quiet. All eyes were trained at the Sun's shrinking crescent,
frozen toes all but forgotten. Many noticed Venus, Jupiter,
and Mercury in the darkening sky. Others spotted shadow
bands dancing irregularly on the ground a minute or two
q DUTY STATIONS New York Edison Company photographers prepare on a rooftop for the crucial minutes. Edison and
other electric companies banded together to set up a picket line
of observers across the southern limit of totality. Right: The New
York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad issued educational pamphlets with one-day-only train schedules for eclipse chasers.

COURTESY ELI MAOR (2)

Braving a temperature of 9°F (-13°C), throngs crowded
northbound subway and elevated trains, reversing the
normally southbound morning rush-hour traffic. All were
headed uptown above Eighty-Third Street, which astronomers had predicted to be the southern limit of totality. Many
media, however, failed to report the range of uncertainty in
this seemingly precise prediction.
Some spots were the most eagerly sought. "The crest
of Morningside Heights was garrisoned before 8 o'clock,"
reported the New York Times the next day. Here hundreds
of tripod-mounted cameras and telescopes vied for unobstructed views both southeastward toward the Sun and
westward over the Hudson River, in anticipation of catching
the Moon's approaching shadow.
It had the air of a huge street party. Parents brought their
toddlers, determined that they should not miss an event the
area hadn't been seen since before Columbus and wouldn't
again for 154 more years. But the children were demanding
to be taken home because their feet were freezing. The snow
covering the ground didn't help. One child was heard to ask,
"Aren't there any eclipses in the summer?"
Entrepreneurs made quick profits selling pieces of smoked
glass, exposed film negatives, or even just cards with a pinhole poked into them. One advertised his device with the slogan, "Save your eyes for ten cents" ($1.40 in today's money).
Yacht owners positioned themselves along the waterways
around Manhattan to avoid the crowds.
New York City mayor John F. Haylan and his secretary
watched from the steps of City Hall in lower Manhattan,
though from here they saw only a deep partial eclipse. So
did President Calvin Coolidge and his wife viewing from the

s k y a n d t e l e s c o p e .c o m

* JANUARY 2017

67


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Sky and Telescope - January 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky and Telescope - January 2017

Contents
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - Cover1
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - Cover2
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - 1
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - Contents
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - 3
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - 4
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Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - Cover3
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - Cover4
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17RAL
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - 90
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17R
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17RA
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17EAL
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - 94
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17E
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17EA
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17SAL
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Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17S
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17SA
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