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Document number: 9853
Date: 22 Mar 1872
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: AIRY George Biddell
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number: Acc 22740 [envelope only]
Last updated: 20th April 2012

Royal Observatory, Greenwich,
London, S.E.
1872 March 22

Dear Sir

Mr George Smith, <1> of the British Museum, Department of Oriental Antiquities, – has handed to me inquiries by you relating to a suspected Solar Eclipse on B.C. 661 June 27. <2> To answer them, I have referred to the calculations in the Art de Verifier les Dates <3> late edition) on which as giving the first step of good approximation. I have great confidence, and have examined on a globe the course of shadow which they indicate. The result is as follows: –

1. There was an Annular Eclipse on the afternoon of the day specified. I cannot at present say how near the annularity approached to Totality.

2. The central path appears to be a little S.W. of the points which you indicate, passing over Jaffa and along or near the Arabian coast of the Persian Gulf. This discordance is really very small, and may be removed by more accurate computations of the Eclipse.

3. If the center passed over Nineveh, it passed also exactly or nearly over Susa.

If any thing important depends on this eclipse, it would be right that it should be recalculated

I am, dear Sir, Faithfully yours
G B Airy

Henry Fox Talbot Ere

Henry Fox Talbot Ere
Lacock Abbey


1. George Smith (1840–1876), Assyriologist.

2. This is Doc. No: 05609.

3. Probably a misspelling for L’art de vérifier les dates des faits historiques, which the Bodleian Library has from 1820, and was printed from a Benedictine manuscript.

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