In New Book, David Baron Explains How A Solar Eclipse Changed Science In America06:08

David Baron's "American Eclipse." (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
David Baron's "American Eclipse." (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
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Among the names of the masters of literature, art, statesmanship and science engraved on the outside wall of the Boston Public Library is Nantucket-born renowned 19th-century astronomer Maria Mitchell.

Mitchell, who eventually became a professor at Vassar College, is acclaimed as the first American woman to work professionally in astronomy.

A key part of her story is told in a new book about how and why she and other prominent U.S. scientists — including Thomas Edison — chased a total solar eclipse that crossed part of the U.S. in July 1878.

Former WBUR & NPR science reporter David Baron is the author of the book titled, "American Eclipse." He joined Morning Edition to discuss how eclipses fundamentally changed 19th-century American science and captured the imagination of the era.

This segment aired on June 9, 2017.

Bob Oakes Twitter Host, Morning Edition
Bob Oakes has been WBUR's Morning Edition anchor since 1992.