Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 68.djvu/560

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Catholic Spanish since that time. There is one tower of special interest, and still in good state of preservation, which is said to have been built by the Romans before Saguntum was founded, and it is, therefore, more than two thousand years old. (The railroad from Valencia passes through Saguntum where Hannibal and the Romans had their memorable fight in B.C. 238.)

The Spaniards received us with open arms and did everything in their power to assist in our work and to make our stay in their midst as pleasant as possible. As no one in the place could speak English, it was necessary to make ourselves understood in their language. They did not laugh at our mistakes in grammar or pronunciation, as we might have done in their places, but were always and at all times the souls of politeness and courtesy.

To help in the erection of the observatory, six sailors were sent in from the Minneapolis, and all hands, astronomers and sailors, worked each day from early morning till late at night, building piers, erecting telescopes with houses to shelter them, mounting spectroscopes, and fixing up a meteorological observatory. After the carpenters and machinists had finished their work of construction, it was necessary for the scientists to focus and adjust, to see that everything was in good working order, and to make trial photographs. A few days before the eclipse the party increased in size to thirty-five, officers and sailors having come up from the ship for the purpose of assisting in the observations. Frequent drills were held in order to familiarize each one with his part and thus to be sure that everything would go right and that no precious seconds would be wasted at the time of the eclipse.

There are certain things about the sun of which we still know very little: for instance, our information of the corona does not go very far. This wonderful halo, without doubt the most beautiful of all natural phenomena, can be seen only when the sun's light is totally eclipsed. As long as there is a slight trace of the sun's disc to be seen, its light is so overpowering that the corona is obliterated; but the instant the moon completely covers it up, there flashes out instantaneously the gorgeous crown of light to view which is well worth traveling thousands of miles. At this eclipse the corona lasted for three minutes and forty-five seconds, and almost with the first reappearance of the sun it was gone. Although this crown must be at all times around the sun, astronomers have not yet become expert enough to make it visible without an eclipse. The shape of the corona, too, is peculiar in that it is in some manner connected with the number of spots on the sun. When there are very few spots, the corona is winged out on either side along the sun's equator, while in the years that the spots are many, the streamers run out at all angles and the corona is more or less square in shape. We have known for more than fifty years that there is some close bond between the number of spots and the amount of magnetism