Astronomer Holger Pedersen is now retired, but still regularly visits the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen working on various projects. Oddly, he recently discovered an old box of photographic plates “while making a cup of tea” in the basement. He brought them up to the office and on further observation realized that they contained plates dating back to 1895. The plates were made using the Østervold telescope.

The images Pedersen found are astonishing and of fairly historic importance. A set from 1909-1922 show the moon in various phases. An image dated April 26, 1957 shows the comet Arend-Roland, where you can see its antitail.

A glass plate from 1919 is of particular interest. It details a solar eclipse that was recorded in Brazil by Aurther Eddington. He was a significant astronomer of the time and discovered the link between the mass of stars and their brightness. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was put forth in 1915. Eddington realized at that time that movements in our solar system could provide an experiment in the observation of an eclipse that would likely support this. On May 29, 1919 he travelled to Brazil to photograph the solar eclipse and the stars could be seen behind the sun’s dim light thus providing a likely evidence for Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

The glass plate is not an original, but is still quite significant and of extreme historical importance.–finding-120-year-old-observations/