Punch,  34 (1858), 141.

Animal Observation Taken in London During the Eclipse



Essay, Drollery

Relevant illustrations:



Astronomy, Animal Behaviour, Amateurism, Observation, Instruments, Periodicals

    Noting the anticipated effects of the eclipse on animals, draws attention to the 'ample evidence' from correspondents in support of this claim (notably the cessation of bird song during the eclipse). However, seeks to remedy the fact that 'no mention had been made in any scientific journal of the ecliptical effects upon the London brute creation'. Offers a series of spoof reports from such individuals as 'an amateur astronomer' and 'a highly scientific gentleman', whose observations of the extraordinary behaviour of domestic animals appears to have only a tenuous connection with the eclipse. For example, Mr Spoone of Islington claimed that 'at half-past twelve o'clock one of his canary birds suddenly stopped singing, and continued silent for ten minutes. It is, however, doubtful if the observation can be considered of much value, inasmuch as Master Spoone chanced to give the bird a lump of sugar at the time, and this might have occasioned the effect which was remarked'. The first letter of the article, 'O', is a woodcut in the shape of an eclipsed sun, which in the adjacent illustration is being observed through a tabletop telescope by a crouching figure. A clown looks through the other end of the instrument.

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]