1780 Solar Eclipse Instruments, Islesboro, 1980

Purchase a reproduction of this item on VintageMaineImages.com.


These were the very instruments used by Reverend Samuel Williams, Professor of Mathematics at Harvard College who, in 1780, made the first scientific observation of a solar eclipse in North America. Dr. Williams ascertained that the eclipse would best be viewed on Islesboro, his actual site being a few hundred yards east of where a granite monument commemorating the event has since been placed. Dr. Williams had to obtain permission to conduct his observation on Islesboro from British officers who controlled Islesboro at that time. The Harvard instruments used by Dr. Williams were brought back to Islesboro in 1980 by professors and students from the university to reenact Williams’s observation of the 1780 eclipse.

Please post your comment below to share with others. If you'd like to privately share a comment or correction with MMN staff, please use this form.