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Fire in the Sky
A contemporary painting depicts the solar eclipse of August 19, 1887, near Berlin. At the time, eclipses offered the only chance for astronomers to see and study the Sun's hot outer atmosphere, the corona, so they went to great lengths to observe these rare events. In 1887, an American expedition to Japan was met with cloudy skies, while an observer in Russia climbed skyward in a hot-air balloon.