It’s about the sights you’ll see before and after your two minutes in the shadow. A TSE brings you to places you never thought you wanted to go. Bolivia ranked about number 6,012 on my travel destination bucket list, but it turned out to be one of the most awesome af vacations of my life. It was solely because of the eclipse that I ventured there.
I’m not an astronomer, not even close. (I can locate the Big Dipper in the night sky, and…that’s it.) This site skims some pop science but mostly focuses on the travel opportunities of an eclipse adventure, and the people and places you might share the experience with when you travel to a TSE.
Above: “Space Watchers” by Gene Faulkner. Photo taken during the Perseid meteor shower, Ocotillo Wells, California
First, you’ll need to scan some books. Try this very old and excellent primer by Bryan Brewer (and Phil Harrington’s “Eclipse!”)
Observation tools: all you need.
Join the club
…said my friend David, at the La Jolla Sunrise Rotary meeting, as he handed me a copy of Discover magazine.
In it: Bob Berman’s “Night Watchman” column about the upcoming Great Eclipse of 1991.
“Rainbows, the Northern Lights, good sex—all nothing,” he wrote, quoting a traveler who had recently seen a total eclipse of the sun. “Nothing compares with totality.” I still have that article, one of the most accurate and beautifully written descriptions of what it feels like in the shadow of a total solar eclipse (TSE). There really is “a powerful presence that transcends the visual beauty.”
I hadn’t thought much about eclipses before or realized there was such a thing as “eclipse chasing”, but that morning at the Rotary meeting, within seconds, I knew I was in. And I subliminally grokked that I was already a member of an eccentric international family who would share the urge to sacrifice personal resources—cash, spare time, family obligations, sometimes even health—to stand in the umbra of totality.
Above: Totality by Fred Espenak, 1973
Chasers make headlines
50-year vacation planner
Presenting about eclipse travel at community clubs (and at Winter Star Fest in Washington, 1993)