On This Day in Space! Aug. 21, 1914: Total Solar Eclipse expedition crashed by World War I

On Aug. 21, 1914, a total solar eclipse temporarily darkened skies across Europe and Asia. A young German astronomer and friend of Albert Einstein’s, Erwin Finlay-Freundlich, led an expedition to the Crimean Peninsula of Russia, where he hoped to record observations that would verify Albert Einstein’s general relativity theory.

How a Total Solar Eclipse Helped Prove Einstein Right About Relativity

This theory predicted that the light from distant stars appearing very close to the sun’s edge should shift due to the curvature of space. Those stars would only be visible during a total solar eclipse, when the moon blocks out the sun’s bright light. Unfortunately, the start of World War I just 20 days before the eclipse foiled the expedition. After Germany declared war on Russia, Freundlich and his colleagues were captured by the Russian army and their equipment was confiscated.

After the war, a solar eclipse on May 29, 1919 was used to confirm Einstein’s theory of relativity, so the experiment was ultimately a success.

  •  Voyager at 40: 40 Photos from NASA’s Epic ‘Grand Tour’ Mission  
  •  Photos from NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 Probes
  •  The Golden Record in Pictures: Voyager Probes’ Message to Space Explained 
  •    5 Facts About NASA’s Far-Flung Voyager Spacecraft

Catch up on our entire “On This Day In Space” series on YouTube with this playlist.

OFFER: Save 45% on ‘All About Space’ ‘How it Works’ and ‘All About History’!

For a limited time, you can take out a digital subscription to any of our best-selling science magazines for just $2.38 per month, or 45% off the standard price for the first three months.View Deal

On This Day in Space Archive!


Still not enough space? Don’t forget to check out our Space Image of the Day, and on the weekends our Best Space Photos and Top Space News Stories of the week. 

Source: Space.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *