Research Program


Dr Kate Russo, author, psychologist, eclipse chaser,

I started researching the eclipse experience in 2010, applying my expertise in phenomenological research to explore the lived experience of totality. My aim is to understand the essence of the totality experience, and how we make sense of it.

This research helps give greater clarity to communicating what it is like to stand in the Moon’s shadow. During lectures and when engaging in the media, I speak not only from personal experience, but I draw from my research program. I then generalize this material and speak from the perspective of a psychologist.

My eclipse research program is also used to inform and develop strategies for effective eclipse outreach and planning. I enjoy sharing this information freely for the benefit of others.

Interested in supporting my research?

This may take the form of sponsoring a project, providing a time-limited bursary, facilitating a writing residential, or other creative ways of support that are mutually beneficial. Get in touch if you are interested in a long-term partnership.



My eclipse research program is grounded in the qualitative research approach called Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). I spent 10 years applying IPA in health settings. My research is more rigorous than any journalist simply interviewing people briefly about their experiences.

In my ‘former’ life in the UK, I was an Assistant Course Director of a doctoral training program. I set up and ran an extensive research network of postgraduate IPA researchers in Northern Ireland. In 2007 I hosted the National IPA conference in Belfast. I peer-reviewed IPA research for academic journals and have acted as a thesis examiner in the UK, Ireland, and Australia. I supervised around 15 postgraduate research projects using this approach. To this day, I am the Australian country coordinator for IPA, and continue to offer specialist IPA academic mentoring to post-graduate researchers in the UK and Australia.



I disseminate my eclipse research to a wide audience – through lectures, writing, and consulting.

The outputs of my independent research program include three books, published articles, conference presentations, White Papers, and numerous media interviews, podcasts, and documentaries.

I self-fund all research primarily through charging for eclipse consulting and workshops. Lack of funds and time severely limits what I can do. In the future, I hope to link in with an academic institution to access grant support. My latest research focuses on how the totality experience can help us understand prosocial elements of awe, and whether the total solar eclipse can be leveraged for the greater good.

Dr Kate Russo, author, eclipse chaser, psychologist, reflection


“You are the first person I’ve come across who has tried to explain just what it is that makes eclipses so awesome, in the true sense of the word. I have great admiration for your projects.”


Mike Frost, Director, BAA Historical Section

“Writing as a psychologist as well as an experienced eclipse chaser, Kate really conveys the awesome majesty of a TSE through the fascinating accounts of a variety of people. “


Terry Moseley, PR Officer, Irish Astronomical Association

Her research program is much more robust than a journalist simply interviewing people after an eclipse and has resulted in several published books.”


Tyler Nordgren, Previous Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Redlands, California