The Dallas Morning News – In the lead-up to the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, a Dallas newspaper looks back at the one that occurred on July 29, 1878. In Texas to observe and report was Todd, a budding “eclipse chaser” who had graduated from Amherst in 1875 and would later return to teach at the College.   

The 23-year-old Todd is described as “a one-man expedition,” having “brought with him a $500 budget, a sextant, a chronometer and a comet seeker, a type of small telescope.” He and other scientists hoped the eclipse would teach them more about the sun’s corona and reveal the hypothetical planet Vulcan, suspected (wrongly) to exist between Mercury and the sun.

“[F]or Todd, it was the beginning of a long career,” writes Dan Singer. “After packing up his comet chaser, he went on to become a professor at Amherst College in Massachusetts and an eclipse chaser whose expeditions took him around the world. The Dallas expedition was his first. He died in 1939.”

Learn more about Todd’s life and career in “The Star-Crossed Astronomer,” a feature written by Julie Dobrow for the Summer 2017 issue of Amherst magazine.