First eclipse in the American colonies

Eclipses by themselves are still dramatic events, if less now than during the Age of Exploration when Captain Cook awed the Jamaican natives with his connection to the heavens by accurately predicting a solar eclipse. Some types are still quite awe-inspiring for their rarity: for example, a 2010 a lunar eclipse took place, with the earth coming between the moon and the sun. The last time that happened, it was the first recorded astronomic observation in the U.S.

On this day, June 25, in 1638, Pilgrims in the Plymouth Colony observed a lunar eclipse, an event that filled them with much the same dread Cook’s natives must have felt

In march of that same year Anne Hutchinson, a self-appointed religious leader (at a time with females were not allowed in the clergy) whose views were much at odds with the established Church, was tried and convicted for religious heresy. The eclipse might have served to reinforce the colonists’ decision: five months after the event she was banished from Massachusetts.