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June 1912 - Eclipse of the Sun

Monthly Magazine for the Parishes of S James, Badsey, with Aldington & S John Baptist, Wickhamford
Transcription of article


After the eclipse of April 17th the children attending Badsey School were asked to write an essay on the subject. The teachers had previously when the eclipse given a lesson on eclipses, and took place Mr. Binyon was in evidence with his smoked glass, and telescope, coloured eye-pieces, other accessories of an ecliptic nature. Three prizes, given by Mr, Binyon, Mr. McDonald, and Mr. Staley, for the best essays, were awarded in the following order: - (1) Nancy Crisp, (2) Lucy Roberts, (3) Evelyn Cull. Maggie Careless and Louisa Bayliss were also commended for their work. Nancy Crisp's essay is so good for a girl of twelve that we accord it a place in the Parish Magazine.


by Nancy Crisp (aged 12)

An eclipse of the sun is an event that occurs on an average about twice every year. In England it is seen only on very rare occasions. But I expect you will want to know what I mean by an eclipse. Well, eclipse means cut off or cut out, so an eclipse of the sun would be something cut out of the sun. But how can something be cut out of the sun? Now I will try to explain it to you. The sun is in the centre of a circle which the earth is continually going round, which is then called its revolution. It is by this revolution that we get the four seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Then the earth is continually turning round on what you might call its axis, which is then called the rotation of the earth. It is by this that we get night and day, as the sun being always on the same spot, and the earth continually turning round, and as the sun cannot shine on two places at once, of course it shines on the half of the earth that is nearest to it, and it is day there and night on the other half. But going round the earth is the moon, which would then get in between the sun and the earth, But it does not, or we should have an eclipse every twenty-eight days. "But," you would say, "why doesn't it?" Well, I think I can explain it to you. Instead, as you would think, of the moon going round the earth in an even circle, it goes round in a slanting direction, so that then it seems to go above the earth and sun, and not on the same level. But when the earth goes round the sun, the moon goes round too, and it is only when the moon gets in between the earth and the sun that it causes an eclipse. The moon did get in between the earth and the sun on April the seventeenth, nineteen hundred and twelve, and there was quite a large eclipse. In some places the eclipse was partial, in some annular, and in some total. When it is a total eclipse the moon covers all the sun, so that it is completely hidden from view. When it is an annular eclipse the moon covers the centre of the sun, and only a ring on the outside is seen. When it is a partial eclipse the moon gets only a little way across the sun, so that it looks as if someone had taken a bite out of it. Here it was a partial eclipse, but in Portugal it was a total eclipse. At the starting here it appeared as if a very little bite had been taken out of the sun, but gradually the moon swept right across the sun, starting from the South-East, and going to the North-West. It started at ten-fifty a.m., reached its maximum at twelve-eight p.m., and ended at one twenty-eight p.m. We saw it through a piece of smoked glass, and other different contrivances, such as telescope reflections, eyelenses, pricking of a pin through a piece of white cardboard, etc. When the eclipse was at it height it seemed to grow dusky, everything seemed peculiar, and in some places the hens began to roost, and the birds stopped chirping. The temperature began to go down, and at eight minutes past twelve it was very low, according to the temperature of the day. Mr. Binyon was kind enough, to bring his telescope for us to see the eclipse quite plainly, and I think he had no little trouble in getting it ready. Also he brought his camera and we had our photographs taken, and though I thank him for it, and, am thinking of buying mine, I think without that I could remember it (the eclipse) quite plainly.