Today is 8th of March. This day marks .the departure of the English astronomers Arthur Stanley Eddington, Edwin Turner Cottingham, Charles Rundle Davidson and Andrew Claude de la Cherois Crommelin, from Liverpool, in the steam Anselm.
The four travelers’ mission was to photograph the star background during the total solar eclipse of May 29, 1919, to test one of Einstein’s general relativity theory predictions.
This solar eclipse was ideal because it was particularly long, just over 5m at the selected observation sites, and the star background included the Hyades cluster, a numerous set of bright stars, in the Taurus.
The heavy logistics associated with these expeditions led to meticulous preparations. They began in 1917, with a discussion about the places of observation, and the expedition route, culminating in the transport of several tons of equipment in time of war.
Final preparations were held at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, from which all materials were dispatched to the port of Liverpool. One part of the team went to Principe island and the other to Sobral in Brazil. All four astronomers travelled up to Funchal, Madeira, together.
Text by Ana Simões and Paulo Crawford