Before there were telescopes and other scientific equipment built using cutting-edge technology, scientists used humble devices to capture the wonders of space. One such event was the 1900 solar eclipse, the first solar eclipse to be ever recorded on film.

Amateur astronomer and magician Nevil Maskelyne recorded the phenomenon in the United States’ North Carolina. In the absence of sophisticated devices built specifically for the purpose, Maskelyne used a telescopic adapter that he had built for his camera, according to a report published by He had also travelled to India in 1898 to capture the solar eclipse, but the film was stolen.

Maskelyne’s work from 1900 has now been restored in 4k by the British Film Institute National Archive. The video was released as part of BFI’s Victorian Film Collection.