Eclipsed by history: underrecognized contributions to early british solar eclipse expeditions

Joel Beckles, Deborah Kent*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Solar eclipse expeditions in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries led to new scientific knowledge that is often credited to prominent male scientists such as Einstein and Eddington. Results generated by named individuals nonetheless depended on the collective effort of scientific administrators, government functionaries, manual labourers, domestic assistants, naval crew members and others. Much substantive work, essential to the success of the scientific ventures, was often done by people local to the observing stations. This paper focuses on British solar eclipse expeditions in 1889 and 1919 to highlight ways in which contributions of women and of people in colonized lands have been underrecognized by the expeditioners and in subsequent narratives about them.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalNotes and Records of the Royal Society
VolumeAhead of Print
Early online date24 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 May 2023


  • Eclipse expeditions
  • Invisible labour
  • Nineteenth-century astronomy
  • Women in astronomy


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