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19th century ‘magic’ meets 21st technology as Victorian-era solar eclipse VIDEO restored to 4k

19th century ‘magic’ meets 21st technology as Victorian-era solar eclipse VIDEO restored to 4k
The British Film Institute (BFI) has released remarkable footage of a solar eclipse shot during the Victorian era but painstakingly restored to stunning 4k, in what may be the world’s oldest surviving astronomical film.

The incredible footage was shot in North Carolina in 1900 by Nevil Maskelyne, a British magician-turned-filmmaker, who was taking part in a Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) expedition.

The footage from the RAS archives was exhaustively restored frame-by-frame to 4k quality.

Maskelyne had to build a special telescopic adapter to film the event (his second attempt - the first film from an 1898 expedition to India was stolen).


The magician-cum-astronomer also founded the Occult Committee which was dedicated to exposing fraud in the scientific, magical and paranormal activities, thought of by many in the Victorian era as equally respectable fields of investigation.

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“Maskelyne wanted a novelty to show at his magic theatre - what better than the most impressive natural phenomenon of them all,”said Bryony Dixon, curator of silent film at the BFI.

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