The first successfully captured photograph of a total solar eclipse, this daguerreotype was shot on July 28, 1851, by Prussian photographer Johann Julius Friedrich Berkowski.

Here's a little history lesson to help you pass the time between now and the next total solar eclipse on August 21st. The photograph above, a daguerreotype captured almost exactly 166 years ago, is the first successfully-captured photograph of a total solar eclipse.

The photo was captured by master daguerreotypist Johann Julius Friedrich Berkowski, a Prussian photographer who was commissioned by the Royal Prussian Observatory at Königsberg to do what nobody else had managed up until that point: capture an appropriately-exposed photograph of a total solar eclipse.

Up until that point, every photograph taken had been over or under-exposed, and/or didn't capture sufficient contrast between the bright corona and the obscuring disk of the moon.

According to a paper in the journal Acta Historica Astronomiae, the photograph was captured using a small refracting telescope attached to the hour drive of the 15.8-cm Fraunhofer heliometer. Berkowski began exposing the image shortly after totality, and the final daguerreotype took 84-seconds to capture.

To learn more about this photograph, click here. And if you want to learn how to capture the August 21st eclipse for yourself (and why you should maybe put the camera down for this one...) check out our own eclipse how-to.

How to photograph the August eclipse, and why you probably shouldn't try.