This blog was written by Pam Tice, a member of the Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group’s Planning Committee.
In this summer of 2017 as we prepare for the solar eclipse on August 21, a recent reference to the 1925 eclipse in The New York Times and the importance of our Bloomingdale neighborhood inspired further research. This event, known as the Upper Manhattan Eclipse, did not occur in the heat of summer, but on a freezing, cold day: January 24, 1925.
Predictions of the path of a solar eclipse were pretty accurate by 1925, but not perfect. Ancient societies—including the Babylonians, the Chinese, and the Maya—had developed the ability to predict solar eclipse patterns, but it wasn’t until 1715 that astronomer Sir Edmond Halley made his critical breakthrough, using Isaac Newton’s law of gravity. This achievement enabled predictions of exactly where the eclipse would occur and how long it would last at that point.