NASA video showing the path of the total solar eclipse that will cross the United States on August 21.

A shadow will fall over Colorado August 21, as a partial solar eclipse makes its way across the state. When a total eclipse darkened Colorado for a few minutes in 1878, people gathered on high ground to watch, from Denver's Capitol Hill, to small town rooftops, to the top of Pikes Peak. They were not alone in their enthusiasm. A who's who of the nation's scientific luminaries traveled west to witness the event, says author David Baron.  

In his book,"American Eclipse:  A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World," Baron paints a vivid portrait of the personalities who journeyed to Colorado and Wyoming for the solar event, including inventor Thomas Edison, astronomer Maria Mitchell and planet hunter James Craig Watson. The 1878 eclipse came at a pivotal time in America, says Baron, as the nation was gaining a foothold as a formidable scientific power. Baron spoke with Colorado Matters host Andrea Dukakis.

Stereograph card of Maria Mitchell's Vassar College eclipse party, Denver, 1878.  

(Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries)

This year's August 21 event will produce a full eclipse over portions of Wyoming, and a partial eclipse in Colorado. Click here to view a simulation of what the eclipse will look like where you are.  

If you'll be in the path of totality on August 21, the Eclipse Megamovie Project is looking for photographers to join a crowdsourcing effort to study the sun's corona.

Learn more about the August 21 eclipse: