Written by Ken Sklute and Dave HenryRead the entire article on the Canon Digital Learning Center. Click here for more CDLC articles with tips on photographing the upcoming eclipse.
Since the earliest days of photography, scientists worked at making a successful image of the corona during a total solar eclipse. The first correctly exposed photograph of the corona during a total solar eclipse was made on July 28, 1851 by daguerreotypist Johann Berkowski at the Royal Prussian Observatory at Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, in Russia). The exposure was 84 seconds during maximum eclipse. Numerous attempts were made earlier, but Berkowski’s image was the first correctly exposed image.
A cropped and enhanced version of the original Berkowski daguerreotype of 1851 clearly shows that not only did Johann Berkowski correctly expose his 84 second daguerreotype, he was the first to document the solar flares, known as prominences, emanating from the sun's surface. This daguerreotype became the benchmark for later photographic attempts.
Throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century and on to today, photography has played a significant role in science. Correct exposure though, makes the photograph useful.