Author: Kate

11 Apr 2024

Reflections on my 14th Total Solar Eclipse Chase

Expedition 71 Astronauts on the International Space Station captured the moon’s shadow covering portions of Quebec, New Brunswick , and Maine from its orbit 261 miles above Earth during the April 8,2024 total solar eclipse. (Image credit: NASA)


Many years ago, I decided that the ideal place to experience the 2024 total solar eclipse was Mexico, with climate records indicating the best chances of clear skies for that time of year. However, as a member of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Solar Eclipse Task Force, I was committed to viewing within the U.S.  I narrowed my search for viewing to Texas, which gave the next-best chance of clear weather.

As I guide others on community eclipse planning, when folk from the Texas Hill Country River Region in Uvalde County reached out, I became quite embedded with this region, which I believed was one of the premium locations for viewing this eclipse. This region was also in the eclipse crossroads for the 2023 annular eclipse and the 2024 total eclipse, and I went all out supporting this region during the annular eclipse last October with the Solar Eclipse Village weekend celebrations in Garner State Park.

For the 2024 total solar eclipse, despite receiving many invitations to join other areas across the path and having no contractual obligations to view the eclipse from this region, I still chose the Texas Hill Country River region in Uvalde County as my Plan A viewing option. Many of my chaser friends also located themselves nearby so we could share the experience.



Once the two-week forecasts started to indicate some weather challenges, which continued as eclipse day drew closer, many of my eclipse chaser friends and colleagues decided to relocate up to areas along the path that were never even earlier considered. As the days progressed, more and more chasers originally planning to view from Texas changed their plans. The high numbers predicted for the region were reducing rapidly.  I chose to remain, opting to make final decisions on short-range forecasts.

My plan A was to view the eclipse around or within Garner State Park. With increasing uncertainty and a disappointing real-life test of the forecasted weather on Saturday (two days before the eclipse), I went to bed that night, deciding to be mobile and actively chase on the day. I made plans with others to scout three possible locations the following day (Sunday), focusing on areas showing potential pockets of dry air and gaps in low cloud. The plan was then to decide on eclipse day based on satellite imaging and the latest forecasts on which direction to head.

BUT the forecasts changed again overnight, showing increased chances of pockets of clearing in my Plan A location. At the Eclipse Briefing at Garner State Park on Sunday, we again shared local weather forecasts, information from several weather apps, and insights from locals, and we also had the expertise of a NASA Atmospheric researcher who gave their views on what to expect.  It was after this briefing that I decided to stick with my Plan A decision.  I just didn’t feel there were any real benefits of chasing as it still left risk, and it didn’t seem to be worth giving up the many benefits of staying. A very small number wanted to chase, and we shared options on the best places to head to based on current data.

So, I prepared myself and the many people staying at Garner who had no intention of relocating to expect a cloudy eclipse, hoping for gaps in the clouds. We deliberately focused on what we would see AROUND US and how lucky we were to be in a natural environment with so much to observe for the eclipse. I felt at peace with my decision, and others were similarly philosophical about what to expect.

It turned out better than expected.


ECLIPSE DAY – Monday April 8, 2024

As predicted, and as we expected, there were low clouds all morning, with some breaks allowing views through the sun spotters and scopes that the NASA team had set up. Everyone cheered when the clouds parted, which was happening with increased frequency.

I then went up to an overlook just before first contact and was absolutely delighted when the clouds parted, giving us a perfect view and experience of the moon’s first bite. We noted the light changes and temperature dropping, and at around 1.10pm CT (our totality was at 1.30) there was a distinct change in wind direction which triggered chills. Intermittent views of the partial phases with clouds clearing allowed us to track the progression. Our small group of 12 felt lucky to be in our location.

A few minutes before totality, the low clouds moved on, and the high clouds again acted as a light filter, allowing naked-eye viewing of the final moments before second contact. We didn’t quite catch Baily’s beads or the diamond ring, but we had numerous glances of totality. Kelby Bridwell, the park superintendent, turned around at the right time and saw the shadow racing across the valley at totality. It really was quite ominous, very other-worldly, and dark with the clouds acting as another way to capture the darkness. The eclipsed sun looked large whenever the clouds parted. I could see the corona close to the eclipsed sun but not a broad view, and I couldn’t quite make out the prominences. I especially loved whenever the clouds parted the crowd cheers from below matched our own from above – it was very unifying across the park. The sunset colors on the horizon, interestingly, weren’t obvious. And another interesting observation – when the low clouds parted during totality, I noted patches of what I thought were blue sky, but it was lighter than I expected, so I’m not sure if that was an optical effect.

We didn’t observe the end of totality directly, but the clouds amplified the sudden return of light, creating an exciting experience.


Small group viewing the eclipse, overlooking Garner State Park (c) Kelby Bridwell



I left a video running to capture our group experience a few minutes before and after totality, capturing the passing darkness. Birds were chirping away and stopped soon after totality—it was noticeably quiet, which we noted at the time. Later, running our video through the Merlin app, we heard Hutton’s Vireo chipping away, the Bewick’s Wren, and amazingly, the endangered and rare golden-cheeked warbler.

Only a small group of us were up at the overlook, and everyone else went down soon after totality ended, but I stayed up top in complete isolation, enjoying the remainder of the eclipse, with occasional glimpses of the partial phases, in the company of the birds that had returned while doing quite a few media interviews.



Overall, it was a great experience that highlighted how a cloudy eclipse can be worthwhile, awe-inspiring, and amazing, especially for those who have never before experienced totality. Eclipse-chasers though, know what is missed, and know that there is so much more to the experience.

When I share that totality happens above you, around you, and within you, I believe that without the ‘above you’, you do not have the full totality impact experience ‘within you’. But the ‘around you’ seems amplified, which can still be quite impactful. The challenge for eclipse chasers is not to focus on the things you CANNOT see but the things you CAN experience.

Overall, an important life lesson is that much is outside of our control. And while we DO have control over our own actions and decisions, we cannot control the outcome. Many did the bolt to find those pockets between the low clouds—most were successful, some were not. Similarly, for those who opted to stay in their chosen location to take their chances, some of us were lucky, others not so.

I’m so glad I stayed and experienced what I did with my Garner friends.

21 Sep 2023

It takes a village to create a Solar Eclipse Village


You will no doubt be aware that TWO solar eclipses are coming soon to the US – the first is an Annular Solar Eclipse (ASE) on October 14, 2023, followed six months later with a Total Solar Eclipse (TSE) on April 8, 2023.   Over 3,000 communities across the US are furiously planning for the TSE next year.  But the communities in the eclipse crossroads – where these two paths intersect in Texas – are planning for both.

Uvalde County, Texas, is in the eclipse crossroads, including the beautiful Texas Hill Country River Region (THCRR). This region is already a tourist draw, with the defining feature being the rivers, but it is also an incredibly important and diverse ecological crossroads.  The gem is Garner State Park, one of the most-loved State Parks in Texas.  Garner State Park happens to be in the premium location for the TSE in April 2024, very close to the centerline with an impressive 4 minutes 26 seconds of totality.

If you could travel to any location in April 2024 to give you the best chances of clear weather and the longest duration of totality, my top choice would be near Torreon in Mexico.  However, many are keen to experience this TSE within the U.S.  My top choice along the U.S. path is to position in Uvalde County, Texas, and to view within or near Garner State Park.  But shhhhhh…. don’t tell the masses.

And because all of Uvalde County is ALSO within the path of annularity this October, viewing from the region will give you that ‘ring of fire’ effect, where through solar filters, the Moon appears to be surrounded by the Sun.  Despite the catchy name, the ASE is nowhere near as thrilling, awe-inspiring, or exciting as a TSE. Still, the ASE is an interesting and informative experience that will certainly give you a feel for what is to come for next April’s TSE.  In Garner State Park, annularity will last 4 minutes and 55 seconds.

Other areas along the path of annularity have a greater chance of clearer skies for this October’s ASE compared to Texas, with many stunning parks and landscapes to view from.  As recently as early June, my viewing plan for the ASE was, in fact, New Mexico. I have since completely pivoted back to Uvalde County for the ASE.  This is the origin story of why this happened and what it has led to.

Doing the best you can with the resources you have at the time 

During the June 2023 AAS Eclipse Planning meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico,  I was able to spend time with Hailey and Erica, who are in charge of implementing the Eclipse Strategy for Uvalde County. We had already been working together via weekly Zooms from November 2022 to April 2023, as I completed the community Eclipse Strategy for the region.  This was the first time we met in person, and it was great to spend time socially together. But  I discovered some significant barriers had prevented them from moving forward with the eclipse strategy we had worked on together for so long.

I felt compelled to re-engage and support this region, especially as they were preparing for TWO eclipses within six months. As I was familiar with the region, having done the strategy, I could see what quick actions could be taken in the next few months to bring things back on track.  But I knew this would require a significant time investment and was something I couldn’t personally afford to do.

I was torn, and this led to some soul-searching.  What kept coming to mind was a phrase I use in my psychology practice:   “People do the best they can with the resources they have at the time“.

After a lengthy into-the-night heart-to-heart with one of my fellow sun-loving colleagues (who shall remain nameless), I decided to follow my heart, go where I could make the most impact, and help them implement what was needed specifically for the ASE.  And then things moved quickly – I committed, the THCRR committed, and everything happened all at once. I spent the rest of that AAS meeting connecting the Uvalde County folk to the wider eclipse planning network.

Days later, I traveled to Uvalde County, where Erica, Hailey, and I were inseparable for the next four days. We huddled, brainstormed, and plotted around the table as various stakeholders came and went. We did site visits, chopper flights for a birds-eye view, scouted for venues, and mapped out the strategy for the ASE weekend. Many people dropped by – some saying hi, checking progress, bringing us food. Much was achieved in this short period, laying the groundwork for the coming months.


On returning to Australia, I continued conversations within my extensive eclipse networks across the U.S. to see who could help out, and conversations were all quite similar:

Me – “Hey, nice to see you again. Whacha doing for the annular?” 

x – “Um, well, I’m deciding on x or y, but I’m not committed. I might do z.” 

Me – “Fancy joining me for some eclipse outreach and to help support Uvalde County?” 

x – Sure! 

I had noted the non-commital position many had about the annular eclipse, which turned out to be the magic ingredient for success. Also, by linking with existing STEM providers, the eclipse brings in resources to the community between now and April next year. I have tried to showcase the region’s many natural assets and support and champion those on the ground so they can continue to do what they do best. The sense of goodwill, willingness to step up, and a desire to do something for the greater good have driven this project forward.

Assemble your team, develop your strategy, and boldly go 

Since then, we have curated a great weekend of festivities for the annular eclipse weekend this October. Erica and Hailey have pulled together a full UVALDE COUNTY STELLER FEST – PREPARTY – a varied program of events for the annular weekend in three key locations that will appeal to the local population.

For my part, I have pulled together the eclipse-focused SOLAR ECLIPSE VILLAGE in Garner State Park, which is one of these three location events. I have been able to create a unique structure that focuses on the ASE on Saturday October 14, and showcases the TSE on Sunday October 15.  Village Day passes are required in advance but are FREE!

When launching events, usually everything is ready to go at the time of launch.  Working within a much shorter time frame means that not everything will be readily available at the same time. But plans are made, people have pulled together, magic is happening, and the ASE weekend will be awesome all over Uvalde County.  Our next job is getting information out there – schedules are coming, booking systems will be set up soon.  All information will be made available on, and will be updated also on the associated FB page.   Please be patient if you can’t find what you are looking for straight away – we are doing the best we can with the resources we have.  

It does indeed take a village to create a village.




06 Apr 2023

Important update about Safe Solar Viewing for Australians for 20 April, 2023

Solar eclipse glasses - these are a safety device for viewing a solar eclipse
Solar eclipse glasses. These are a safety product that should be used to view a solar eclipse safely. Safety instructions are printed on the inside, along the compliance with international standards.

As everyone knows, looking at the Sun is NEVER safe.  Indirect methods of observing a solar eclipse, such as pinhole projection, allow for safe solar viewing with no risk of eye damage. For direct viewing, solar filters can be used to protect the eyes during the partial phases, while during totality, the Moon blocks out the whole sun.

Eclipse chasers like me have been using solar eclipse glasses for decades. Those of us involved in planning over the years refer to the standardized, evidence-based guidance endorsed by leading international groups and found on  This easy-to-follow guidance highlights risks but also shows HOW to view safely and has allowed for a consistent message to be reinforced year after year.

The Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA) now has an Eclipse 2023 site, drawing from the above resources and providing Australian-based practical guidance on how to view safely.   Australia will be experiencing five total solar eclipses over the coming 15 years, so this is an authoritative website for this and future solar eclipses.

Gone are the days when people are advised to view a total solar eclipse by staying indoors, turning their backs, or watching on TV. Or so we thought!

Decision-makers for the Australian “Ningaloo Eclipse” are taking a safety-first approach for the total solar eclipse on April 20, 2023. Official eye safety guidance is provided via an external link from the website of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). For the past year, this guidance has stated that there was no way to directly view a total solar eclipse safely and that solar eclipse glasses were unsafe and should not be used. The Chief Health Officer (CHO) advice drew from the ARPANSA viewpoint, and a recent ABC news article reinforced this message.

As an invited Solar Eclipse Reference Group member for this Australian solar eclipse on 20 April 2023, for the past year at every meeting, I have expressed my concerns at this messaging. I have provided information and links to evidence-based and internationally endorsed guidance. Beyond this forum, those involved in international standards, eclipse planning, and eye safety research have also attempted to challenge such out-of-date messaging.

Thankfully, there has been an important update.

This week’s joint press release from the Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA), the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO), and the Lions Eye Institute is significant and gives clarity regarding how to view safely and prevent eye damage.

Of particular note is the Position Statement from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO). As experts in eye health, this guidance is really very helpful and practical. I recommend everyone to view this position statement. This is an excellent document for parents who are guiding their children on viewing safely – something that has been lacking.

The following three takeaways from the Position Statement answer the most common questions people ask me:

  • Solar eclipse glasses are safe, and should be used for direct viewing of the solar eclipse
  • Those within the path of totality can remove their solar eclipse glasses and safely view totality with the naked eye
  • Australian standard welding shields and goggles with a lens category higher than 12 may be used to safely view the eclipse.


I am delighted to see that ARPANSA has now updated its guidance for safe solar viewing and is no longer stating that solar eclipse glasses are not safe. This is a major milestone.

I just want to express my gratitude and acknowledge all those who have been working hard on this issue to finally get this change. Ultimately, the best way of ensuring a ‘safety-first’ approach is to provide consistent and evidence-based information on HOW to view a solar eclipse safely.  With only a fortnight to go, Australians now have this consistent information.

29 Sep 2022

Zooming to Rochester for eclipse planning workshop 21-22 October

My preferred Zoom window view for the next eclipse planning workshop October 21-22. (c) 2022, Dr. Kate Russo


Back in 2011 when I was looking for a platform to record my interviews for my first book “Total Addiction”, I stumbled across Zoom. I took the leap from Skype and started to use it exclusively after finding it reliable, easy, and versatile. I was an early adopter and encouraged many people to use it.

Fast forward to 2022. Who knew that Zoom would become so embedded within our work-from-home pandemic lifestyle that ‘zoom fatigue’ would become a thing?

Zoom has allowed me to continue with my international focus despite moving country and then being in country lockdown for two years. Daily Zoom check-ins, weekly Zoom meetings, virtual Zoom conferences, and Zoom workshops have enabled my eclipse work activities to continue with minimal impact. Being a member of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Solar Eclipse Task Force while located in Australia hasn’t been an issue thanks to Zoom. (Ok, coffee has also played an important role here too for those 4 am Zoom sessions, to be fair). And despite significant COVID impacts over the past few years, the AAS eclipse planning workshops have continued virtually via Zoom.

However, I miss the joy, interactions, and networking of real-life events. Life is about the people you meet, the deep conversations. The laughs. Finding new ways of thinking about things, sharing experiences, and developing partnerships. I really miss those times. I miss being in the shadow, and I miss being part of our wonderful community.

This is why I’ve made the decision to attend the next AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force eclipse planning workshop in person. Real life. In the flesh. En persona. It has been so long since I have flown internationally that my passport had expired and it took me TWO YEARS to decide to renew it.

So, in October, I will be putting my shiny new passport to use and will fly to the US to take part in the next eclipse planning workshop with our hosts in Rochester, New York. I am SO looking forward to connecting with my eclipse-chasing community, eclipse planning colleagues and those in communities who are preparing for the solar eclipses of 2023 and 2024 in North America. We will share knowledge, experience, encouragement, and resources with those attending in person and via Zoom for this hybrid event.

Come join me, and consider coming in person. It’s going to be a great weekend – see the AAS website for details and to register.

Until then, see you on Zoom!

30 Jun 2022
Australian eclipse quintet


eclipes over australia quintet

If you are—or would like to be—an eclipse chaser, prepare yourself for a choice of FIVE total solar eclipses in Australia over the next 15 years.

A total solar eclipse will be visible from mainland Australia in 2023, 2028, 2030, 2037, and 2038. With an estimated two in every three Australians living near the capital cities, and each Australian city giving easy access to at least one of these eclipses, most Aussies are likely to get the chance to experience totality. That’s exciting!

Our last Australian totality experience was in 2012 in North Queensland (just up the road). It certainly doesn’t feel like a decade ago.

Australia is a massive continent and there is plenty of room to spread out along the path of totality for every eclipse, except in 2023. Here’s a quick breakdown of the eclipse quintet to come.

20 Apr 2023. Northwest Cape, WA. Max 1min 16sec

With such limited land options, visitors to the ‘Ningaloo Eclipse‘ will concentrate in the North West Cape area of Exmouth. Viewing options include the stunning World Heritage-listed Ningaloo coastline and Cape Range National Park in Western Australia (WA). Those wanting to escape the crowds are likely to head further north to Onslow and access the path of totality by boat. The iconic Australian totality experience for this eclipse is likely to be from a beach location.

22 Jul 2028. Durack, WA; Tennant Creek, NT; Thargomindah, QLD; Sydney, NSW. Max 5min 10sec

This one is definitely not to be missed with such a long duration of totality! By far the biggest crowds of people experiencing totality will be the 5.3 million lucky Sydney-siders who just have to look up. Eclipse chasers are likely to focus on the areas giving maximum time during totality in WA, and across the glorious Northern Territory (NT) and Queensland (QLD) outback. This is the ideal time of year for an extended outback adventure. The iconic Australian totality experience is likely to be near the Sydney Harbour, although the Karlu Karlu (Devil’s marbles) in the NT will provide the iconic outback setting.

25 Nov 2030. Streaky Bay, SA; Packsaddle, NSW; Miles, QLD. Max 3min 44sec

With no major cities in the path, people will be traveling to the stunning Eyre Peninsula of South Australia (SA) to greet the Moon’s shadow. Those searching for clearer skies will head into the outback in SA, New South Wales (NSW), and QLD. The iconic Australian totality experience is likely to be had on the coast, or in the outback.

13 Jul 2037. Geraldton, WA; Uluru, NT; Gold Coast, QLD; Byron Bay, NSW. Max 3min 58sec

The path of totality for this eclipse sweeps elegantly across the whole Australian continent from west to east. Colourful Geraldton will be the premier location to first welcome the Moon’s shadow. The outback areas of WA, NT, and QLD will make great viewing locations, especially in QLD with the maximum duration of totality. Some may like to head to the tourist areas of the Gold Coast and Byron Bay. Those seeking the iconic Australian totality experience will no doubt make a beeline to Uluru (Ayres Rock).

26 Dec 2038. Onslow, WA; Whyalla, SA; Barham, NSA; Shepparton, VIC. Max 2min 18sec

Finally, this path of totality sweeps across the Australian continent from west to east, this time with Onslow in WA in the lucky position to first welcome the Moon’s shadow. To avoid the challenge of a wet season, viewers are likely to head to the outback in WA and SA. Those seeking the longest duration should consider the east of the path in Victoria (VIC). An iconic Australian totality experience can be found in the stunning Karijini National Park, WA.

It’s time to dream big and use these total solar eclipses in Australia to plan your epic outback adventure, and finally get a chance to experience our dark southern hemisphere sky.

So sorry Tasmania – you miss out. Your next one isn’t until June 2131.




17 Mar 2022
White Paper 2nd Edn cover

OUT NOW – 2nd Edition of White Paper on Community Eclipse Planning

White Paper 2nd Edn cover
White Paper on Community Eclipse Planning (2nd Edn), is available to download freely from my website. This version is focused on those planning for TSE 2024, and the annular in 2023.


We are now almost two years out from the biggest event in North and Central America for 2024 – the next total solar eclipse. This eclipse will be even bigger than the 2017 eclipse — I know this is very hard to imagine. The path of totality is much wider crossing over higher-population areas, and with FOMO from 2017, it really will be the event of the decade.

This time, over 3,000 communities are located within the path of totality in the US alone. This equates to tens of thousands of people who will be directly involved with eclipse planning over the coming two years.

Planning for something as major as a total eclipse needs to happen across organizations, and with local/state/national coordination. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) Solar Eclipse Task Force is doing a great job at coordinating efforts, and I enjoy being part of this team of highly motivated people who are guiding the way in preparations for 2024. Our next virtual planning workshop is only a few weeks away and is timed to coincide with the two-year countdown (and you can register here).

Every community within the path of totality will initially struggle to get started with their planning. Usually, they wait for direction from above and then realize over time that only they can figure out the eclipse planning strategy for their own community.

This is exactly where my White Paper on Community Eclipse Planning comes in.

Having been involved in community eclipse planning for a decade, I see this gap time and time again and have made it my mission to support communities to develop their strategic approach to planning for the eclipse. No one will do it for you. **SPOILER ALERT** For maximum benefit, the eclipse should not be seen as a one-off event, but as a focal point for your community development plans.

The first White Paper on Community Eclipse Planning was released in 2015, with the purpose of helping communities across the path of totality in the US to prepare for the ‘Great American Eclipse’ in 2017. Since then, I have used the thousands of hours of my free zoom consultations, repeated sessions, in-community visits, post-eclipse sessions with coordinators and Mayors, to effectively capture the key lessons from those coordinating the eclipse planning efforts in their communities. I use an evidence-based approach and do this voluntarily in my own time, so it is a slow process.

And so, after years of work behind the scenes sorting through all this material, the 2nd Edition is now ready for distribution.

This document is more detailed and focused on developing a community-based eclipse strategy for maximum benefit. Like last time, this document is free and can be found at the bottom of this page on my website. The document is large, so it is best shared via a link to my webpage rather than as an attachment.

This 2nd edition will have multiple versions tailored for each specific eclipse, up to 2030. An earlier version for the 2023 total eclipse visible from Australia/Timor-Leste was circulated to those involved last year. The version now available to download from my website is suitable for those planning for the total solar eclipse of 2024 in the US, Mexico and Canada — while also including details of the 2023 annular eclipse.

I am no longer in a position to offer free individual consults to communities. However, I will be offering planning masterclasses for eclipse coordinators, where each month a maximum of six coordinators can come together and we will deep-dive into various topics. I will only be making announcements about these to those communities who complete the form on my website, and the first one will be in May.

Remember – no community volunteers to be within the path of totality; the Universe chooses YOU! Use this opportunity wisely.


04 Jun 2021

An Antarctica flight into totality

Some say the number 13 is unlucky. I’m not one to believe in superstition, but I must say there feels as if something has been stopping me from successfully chasing my 13th total solar eclipse.

Travel restrictions stopped me and most of my international eclipse community from chasing totality in December 2020 in Argentina / Chile. Despite renewed optimism for international travel in 2021, the options for traveling to Antarctica for totality in December 2021 remain limited. Even if South American borders remain open to allow travelers to connect with their cruise ships to Antarctica, COVID uncertainties may still prevent some travelers from boarding. Once successfully on board, one then has to hope the high chance of clouds from the remote Weddell Sea will not impede the view. This is why many of my past eclipse tour community and personal chasing friends have opted out of any attempts to chase totality 2021 – there are too many unknowns and potential issues that are outside of our control.

But ….. there is now hope for us Aussie eclipse chasers. For those not in the know, Australians have been prevented from travelling internationally for over a year, and will continue to be restricted until 2022.

Most in the travel industry within Australia have had to ‘pivot’ and find new solutions to work around COVID limitations. Chimu Expeditions are based in Australia, and have an extensive history of offering interesting tours to Antarctica and other worldwide destinations. With COVID restrictions impacting upon Australian travel, they have recently opened up interesting domestic flight options which are of great appeal, including sightseeing flights south to view the Aurora Australis, and over Antarctica. These new options have been extremely popular.

Over the past few months interesting conversations have taken place regarding the possibility and viability of a flight from Australia being able to get into the path of totality. After much plotting and planning, Chimu are now going ahead with their planned charter flight with Qantas. Boom!

The plan is to fly from Melbourne, doing a scenic flight over Antarctica and then intersecting the path of totality to allow those on board to experience totality from above the cloud. To meet COVID requirements, this is a domestic flight, and open to anyone within Australia.

I’m excited beyond belief.

The flight is an incredible opportunity to view two wonders – the immense vastness of the Great White Continent; as well as seeing a total solar eclipse from the plane. It is likely to appeal not just to eclipse chasers, but to the traveling public of Australia who have been cooped up for so long and may decide that this is the perfect post-COVID lockdown experience. Just imagine the vibe on board!

I’m encouraging all chasers to get in early. Expressions of interest and the flight brochure can be viewed via this exclusive eclipse chaser link here:

It may just be that my 13th total solar eclipse chase is going to be the luckiest by far!

30 Mar 2021

Community Eclipse Planning – Zoom workshop 9-10 April 2021


I’ve been chasing total eclipses for over 20 years. While waiting for each chase, I usually channel my energies into community eclipse planning and working behind-the-scenes on projects for future eclipses.

Despite living in Australia, I am a member of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Solar Eclipse Task Force, which is the key supporting organization for solar eclipse planning across the US. We have been meeting via Zoom regularly and are working towards future eclipse coordination in the US.

Plans are now ramping up in preparation for the next total solar eclipse visible across the US, including Mexico and Canada, on 8 April 2024. If you thought the ‘Great American Eclipse of 2017’ was huge, then be aware that was just the warm-up. With so much more awareness, the ‘Greater North American Total Solar Eclipse of 2024’ is going to be huge! And an added bonus – an annular (‘ring’) solar eclipse will be visible across the US and parts of Mexico the year before, on 14 October 2023. Make sure to mark these dates in your diary.

This means community eclipse planning needs to start NOW for all communities who find themselves in the Moon’s shadow in 2023 and/or 2024.

To help you with this, the AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force is hosting the next planning weekend workshop via Zoom on Friday and Saturday, 9 and 10 April 2021, to coincide with the three-year countdown to the total eclipse in 2024. This online workshop will be of interest to anyone who needs to be involved in preparations for these two solar eclipses, and there is a great line-up of experienced presenters who are keen to support you. Day 1 of the workshop will provide a detailed overview of these solar eclipse opportunities across the US, and guidance about eye safety. Day 2 of the workshop is dedicated to eclipse planning. I will be delivering a presentation on community eclipse planning on Day 2, and then taking part in a panel discussion on the topic that will also feature others who will be sharing their planning experience from 2017.

There is a low fee of $20 to take part in the weekend workshop. Please CLICK HERE for more detailed information, any questions, and to register your attendance. If you cannot attend this workshop, then make sure to still link in with the Eclipse Task Force to be kept informed of future planning workshops.

I’ve been guiding and researching community eclipse planning for many years now, and my top three nuggets of advice based upon my own direct experience and the many, many hindsight interviews I have done after each eclipse: start planning early; focus on the community; and consult with eclipse experts. This workshop will help you get started – you will be warmly welcomed by the Solar Eclipse Task Force, and you will have an opportunity to connect with others who are also starting out with their planning too. I look forward to seeing you there.

08 Dec 2020

2020 – The one we had to learn to let go

As an eclipse chaser, I spend my time counting down the days, hours and minutes to the next time I can be in the Moon’s shadow. It is an incredibly important part of my life, and in many ways eclipses have become a more meaningful marker of time for me than calendar years. I know where I will be for each of the eclipse years of totality.

Like all eclipse chasers, I had planned big things for the total eclipse of December 14, 2020. This was to be the eclipse with clear skies, broad landscapes, and cultural delights viewed from Chile or Argentina, and I had set my sights, yet again, on Argentina.

Not chasing this eclipse was difficult for me personally, as it meant that I had to miss my 13th total eclipse. However, this is not really about me at all – there is a much bigger picture here. The tour I was leading was not able to proceed, and as a result 65 people had their plans canceled; and very sadly the tour company I worked with was forced to cease trading due to the situation in Argentina. These circumstances were all outside of my control, and were consequences of this pandemic. This was the impact only in my immediate circle related to eclipse travel – every one of you will have your own story of how this pandemic has affected your life and the loss you have faced.

Now with less than a week to go for the next total eclipse, I feel at peace knowing that I am not chasing this eclipse. Not traveling is a sacrifice I am willing to make for the greater good, and most eclipse chasers have grounded themselves for 2020. However, a few hardy international chasers remain committed to the cause – desperately seeking updates and guidance on how to get into the path of totality in South America despite the many remaining obstacles of quarantine, closed borders, test requirements, and traveler restrictions.

If I can slip into my alternate role as a psychologist here… what we are currently experiencing more than any time in my life is a complete lack of control. If we try to gain control over things we have no control over, we are just left with anxiety. So we have a choice – those who can be flexible in our thinking know that when we have no control, it is better to roll with it, and focus on the things we DO have control over.

Some, however, will find it difficult to see they have a choice, and will do all they can to stay in control. In this situation, without any control, all they can do is arm themselves with information and continue to plan. Unfortunately, the pandemic response varies considerably worldwide, and even within each country, state, and region information changes almost by the hour. Keeping up-to-date for chasing this eclipse in South America is exhausting – what is promised on one day can be easily overridden on a different day by some other authority. And when we become so focused on the end goal, we lose sight of the fact that when we travel in such an environment we expose not only ourselves, but others – our eclipse chaser friends, other travelers, locals we meet, officials on the ground, our hosts, and then our loved ones when we return – to greater risks. And ultimately – we still have no control.

If you are still outside of South America, then it is ok to give yourself permission to not travel and chase this eclipse. This is not a sign of failure or defeat, but a sign of strength as you are making a choice. With this comes a sense of peace and acceptance.

If you are already within South America – then do enjoy the eclipse safely, knowing that chasers around the world will be with you, watching from afar and sharing the sense of wonder and awe with you. Those already living within the path of totality are considered the lucky ones, where all they have to do on eclipse day is go outside and look up. I will be watching online, and plan to be part of a Slooh live broadcast from Chile, talking about how this year’s world events have affected us eclipse chasers.

Post-pandemic eclipse chasing will be with a renewed sense of gratitude for having the freedom and flexibility to travel in the future. Until then, 2020 will be remembered by the eclipse chasing community as the one we had to learn to let go.

11 Mar 2018

Totality 2020: Tour Announcement

Join me in the path of totality in 2020. (c) Kieron Circuit


I have some exciting news!

My 2020 tour in collaboration with The Independent Traveller is now finalised.

This will be my third eclipse tour with The Independent Traveller. After our incredible experience of totality in Wyoming in August 2017, we are again offering something special and unique in astronomy travel, suitable for both new and experienced chasers.

The tour will be led by me, and will be of appeal to those who want to have a great eclipse experience with a beautiful scenic outlook. Clear skies, glacial lakes, and volcanos anyone??

Rosemary, the owner of The Independent Traveller, has been running tours in South America for many years, and has extensive contacts on the ground. During her visit in January, she was able to secure exclusive use of a really beautiful viewing location in an area with excellent weather prospects, and some quite exclusive accommodation too. A difficult mix to achieve in this part of Patagonia.

Here are the bare details:

  • Six-night tour, commencing and ending in Buenos Aires
  • Viewing from the Argentinian side of the Andes, giving us excellent weather prospects
  • Very comfortable hotel options, ensuring a quality experience
  • Pre- and post-eclipse briefings
  • Exclusive eclipse viewing site
  • Transport options in the unlikely event of poor weather at our primary viewing location
  • Estimated maximum numbers of 60


For more details of this tour, including pricing options, please register your interest here – and mention our special code word: OPTIMISM. Rosemary will answer all of your questions and will be delighted to help you with the tour and some pretty incredible add-ons as well.

Interest is high, and there is no doubt that this tour will sell out.

We will not be offering a tour for 2019, although I will of course be traveling independently.

I look forward to welcoming you on this tour in 2020.