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America's First Great Eclipse

How Scientists, Tourists, and the

Rocky Mountain Eclipse of 1878

Changed Astronomy Forever

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Science. History. Adventure.

America’s First Great Eclipse tells the story of a country, and its scientists, on the brink of a new era. Near the end of the nineteenth century, when the United States was barely a hundred years old, American astronomers took the lead in a science that Europeans had dominated for centuries.

On July 29, 1878, America's astronomers spread out across the Great Plains and climbed to the top of 14,000-foot Pikes Peak, all to glimpse one of nature’s grandest spectacles: a total solar eclipse.

The Rocky Mountain eclipse of 1878 was not only a turning point in American science, but was also the beginning of high-altitude astronomy, without which our current understanding of the Universe would be impossible.

What people are saying

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Highly recommended ... The story of this eclipse is one of the most remarkable in American history.

— Great American

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Wow! An historical and engaging account of the 1878 event and its eerie similarities to what we're seeing today.


— Amazon Reviewer

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Page-turning history of astronomy in the Wild West. Loved it … literally couldn't put it down until I finished!

— David Lee Summers, Kitt Peak National Observatory

Steve Ruskin, PhD

Steve Ruskin is an award-winning historian, with a PhD in the history of science. He also writes science fiction, alternate history, and thrillers.

In the months before the 2017 total eclipse, Dr. Ruskin was a guest on TV, radio shows, and podcasts discussing the eclipse of 1878.

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