This French watercolor from the late 17th century depicts a solar eclipse observed by a party of French Jesuits in Siam (now Thailand) in April 1688.

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This 1836 print shows Chinese astronomers observing and measuring an eclipse of the sun using a telescope and other instruments.

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This painting by Johann Christian Schoeller, titled "The Total Eclipse of the Sun," depicts the scene in Vienna, Austria, during the July 8, 1842, solar eclipse.

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An illustration shows members of Nansen's Fram expedition making a solar eclipse observation from the North Pole on April 6, 1894.

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People gaze upwards, aligning cameras and optical equipment, toward a total eclipse of the sun in the Parisian suburb of St. Germain-en-Laye on April 17, 1912.

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A crowd in a California town observes the total eclipse of the sun that occurred in September 1923. The last total solar eclipse in any part of the country before this was in 1918.

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Women observe the solar eclipse of April 8, 1921, in Paris.

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City workers in London view a solar eclipse from their office roof on April 9, 1921.

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A group of nurses watch a solar eclipse through special dark glasses in June 1927.

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A crowd of people observe a solar eclipse from the grounds of Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, England, circa 1927.

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Eclipse watchers squint through protective film as they view a partial eclipse of the sun from the top deck of New York's Empire State Building on Aug. 31, 1932.

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President Herbert Hoover looks at the solar eclipse from the lawn near his office on Aug. 31, 1932.


Visitors of the Treptower astronomical observatory in Berlin witness a solar eclipse through a telescope in 1936.

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Students at Sydney University protect their eyes from a total solar eclipse by looking through pieces of cardboard and film on Oct. 31, 1948.

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A teacher instructs his students in London as they watch an eclipse of the sun in June 1954.

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Students witness a solar eclipse in 1958.

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Fifth-grade students from Emerson Elementary School in Maywood, Illinois, place cardboard boxes over their heads to shield their eyes from the sun in 1963.

Francis Miller / The LIFE Picture Collection

Students cluster around a projection screen rigged to a telescope in Aurora, Colorado, to witness a solar eclipse in 1970.

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Ten separate exposures on a single frame show the phases of a partial solar eclipse in the sky over Washington, DC, on March 7, 1970.

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Amateur astronomers view a solar eclipse at Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles on Jan. 1, 1994.

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A Cambodian monk watches the beginning of a full solar eclipse with safety glasses on Oct. 24, 1995, during a total eclipse at Angkor Wat.

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A woman views a total solar eclipse through filtered glasses in Isfahan, Iran, Aug. 9, 1999. In the background is the Imam Mosque.

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Crowds gather with protective eyewear to witness a solar eclipse in Vauville, France, on Aug. 11, 1999.

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Olivia Rayner, aged 8, and her dog Violet May are both seen wearing protective eyewear for the solar eclipse on Aug. 11, 1999.

Ian Hodgson / Reuters

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