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Published on Dec 28, 2011
On Oct 2, 1959, I was a first-year student at Harvard, taking a freshman seminar in astronomy from Prof. Donald H. Menzel, a major eclipse scientist and the director of the Harvard College Observatory. He arranged to borrow an Eastern Airlines plane to take us to totality, high over Marblehead, MA, and out to sea. One overslept, so 11 of us first years were on the plane, along with him and with some other people from the observatory. I was, obviously, inspired to go on in eclipse studies. Among the others in the class were John Leibacher, a solar astronomer who is now the editor of the journal Solar Physics (and from whom I heard yesterday and today about an article just accepted with Greek colleagues about spectra from the 2010 total solar eclipse); Ken Janes, an astronomer at Boston University; and Donald Goldsmith, an astronomer and astronomical educator. At
I have posted maps from USNO showing the path of totality near the US, a photo from Goldsmith showing the shadow, a cartoon-style doodle (the frontispiece of my Ph.D. thesis in 1969) of the type for which Menzel was well known, and links to an article about how this 1959 eclipse in Europe was important to the founding of the current observatory in the Canary Islands and to my article about Menzel and eclipses from the time of the 100th anniversary of his birth. -- Jay Pasachoff, December 29, 2011.