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.