January 24, 1925
Total Eclipse of the Sun


Links to related pages
Land Introduction Page
Percy Land

January 24, 1925

On January 24, 1925 a total eclipse of the sun was visible from the hill behind the house of Percy and Meta Land on North Country Road in Smithtown, Long Island

"Everyone knew that an eclipse was coming, in fact some people predicted that the end of the world was coming. People had been warned not to look directly into the sun and to use exposed film to watch the eclipse. On that fateful day, crowds of people gathered on the hilltop in the Smithtown Cemetery to watch the event. The day was a "beautiful sunshiny day" and slowly a shadow began to spread across the face of the sun. Gradually the sun disappeared and the sunlight faded in the sky until it was as black as night in the middle on the day."

Black Roots in Smithtown, A short History of the Black Community, by Bradley Harris, Smithtown Historian, 1986

The eclipse took about 2 minutes from start to finish. It started in New York City just after 9'oclock in the morning (It occurred later on Long Island.). New York City was on the southern edge of the eclipse's path. In fact only those above 96th street could view the full spectacle.

In February 2006 Vincent Mallette Senior Science Writer, InWit/IndustrialMindworks emailed to say that

Whoever took the Smithtown picture had a fairly short time window in which to snap the shutter -- the total eclipse at Smithtown lasted only about 41 seconds.
The weather was cold and snow was on the ground as the moon's shadow crossed the surface of the sun. When the black ball of the moon's shadow was centered in the fiery sphere of the sun the brilliant corona of the sun stood in sharp relief against the sky.

"A U.S. Navy dirigible was first used to make a motion film of an eclipse on 24 Jan 1925. The dirigible was about 4,500 feet above a point almost 19 miles east of Monauk Point, New York, [from] which it filmed the 2-min 5-sec eclipse."
--from: Today in Science, Eclipse filmed, April 28, 1930 sent by Vincent Mallette, February 2006

Photo of the eclipse from the collection of Helen Land.

If you have any suggestions, corrections, information, copies of documents, or photos that you would like to share with this page, please contact me at maggie@maggieblanck.com