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Einstein’s Eclipse 1919–Reconstructed

Einstein's Eclipse 1919--Reconstructed

Einstein's Eclipse 1919--Reconstructed

Einstein’s Eclipse 1919–Reconstructed

Using a digital scan of the 1919 eclipse from one copy of a plate from Sobral from Landessternwarte Heidelberg-Königstuhl, who scanned theirs as part of the Heidelberg Digitized Astronomical Plates (HDAP) project funded by the Klaus Tschira Foundation, it was possible to reconstruct the solar corona and also structures of the huge prominence of this scientifically important event. For this result, it was needed to separate real details from scratches and dust on the scan and focus on subthreshold information hidden in a high dynamic range of the original photograph.

Since the eclipse was photographed on a classical photographic plate and the scan was saved in high quality, it was possible to apply basic postprocessing methods, which are nowadays used for digital photography, and also special Noise Adaptive Fuzzy Equalization software developed by prof. Miloslav Druckmüller. Despite very inhomogeneous exposure of the plate and problematic (not perfect) image artifacts removal, fine details in the solar corona of the 1919 eclipse were preserved and revealed.

The eclipse occurred during Solar Cycle 15 (beginning in July 1913 and ending in August 1923), about 2 years after the maximum of solar activity. Thus we can see typical structures of the uneven solar magnetic field with a hint of magnetic dipole of the Sun (poles are on the top left and right bottom). Bottom right, two stars 65 and 67 Tauri can be found (and they were used in the Eddington’s experiment). The most notable is the large prominence located close to the equatorial areas of our star. It was the largest prominence ever captured during a total solar eclipse.

When structures were better revealed from the image, by defining the basic colors of known phenomena in the image (prominence, solar corona) it was also possible to colorize the final result and firstly in history to show to the world the scientifically so famous eclipse as it helped with confirmation of the Einstein’s General relativity, in a way never seen before.

Full credit: ESO/Landessternwarte Heidelberg-Königstuhl/F. W. Dyson, A. S. Eddington, & C. Davidson, P. Horálek//Institute of Physics in Opava, M. Druckmüller

 

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