2022 Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) Symposium

Location

ScholarSpace, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

Presentation Type

Open Access Poster Presentation

Document Type

poster

Abstract

On August 7th, 1869, a total solar eclipse was visible in the United States. It carved a path through the heartland, nearly bisecting the state of Iowa as it ran from the northwest corner of the state, through Des Moines, and down through the southeast. As the scientists of the day flocked from universities and observatories on the east coast to the Midwest for a chance to make observations and measurements, many of the teams chose to set up in Iowa. Along the path of the eclipse, the parties built temporary observatories to house their telescopes, or simply picked buildings already standing and pointed the telescopes out the window. When it came time to leave, many of the groups left objects behind. The objects serve as latitude and longitude markers, as well as important historical artifacts. In 2022, many of the artifacts have faded into obscurity, lost to time like so many other relics from the 19th century. The goal of this project is to travel to the cities that the astronomers went to, find their observing sites, and reclaim the artifacts they left for us. Out of the 10 cities I visited in Iowa, and the 18 locations I explored, there were 5 places still standing from 1869.

Start Date

29-7-2022 11:00 AM

End Date

29-7-2022 1:30 PM

Event Host

Summer Undergraduate Research Program, University of Northern Iowa

Faculty Advisor

Thomas Hockey

Department

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

File Format

application/pdf

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Jul 29th, 11:00 AM Jul 29th, 1:30 PM

The Total Solar Eclipse of 1869 in Iowa: What Remains Today

ScholarSpace, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

On August 7th, 1869, a total solar eclipse was visible in the United States. It carved a path through the heartland, nearly bisecting the state of Iowa as it ran from the northwest corner of the state, through Des Moines, and down through the southeast. As the scientists of the day flocked from universities and observatories on the east coast to the Midwest for a chance to make observations and measurements, many of the teams chose to set up in Iowa. Along the path of the eclipse, the parties built temporary observatories to house their telescopes, or simply picked buildings already standing and pointed the telescopes out the window. When it came time to leave, many of the groups left objects behind. The objects serve as latitude and longitude markers, as well as important historical artifacts. In 2022, many of the artifacts have faded into obscurity, lost to time like so many other relics from the 19th century. The goal of this project is to travel to the cities that the astronomers went to, find their observing sites, and reclaim the artifacts they left for us. Out of the 10 cities I visited in Iowa, and the 18 locations I explored, there were 5 places still standing from 1869.