I have interviewed and surveyed many eclipse chasers. The first time experience of an eclipse leaves many people unable to describe the experience. Eclipse Chasers, however, are much more able to put words to the experiences. They are far more likely to be able to describe not just the intensity of totality, but the build up, the planning, the waiting, the intensity.
They know what is coming, and they have planned for it for a long time. For eclipse chasers, eclipses have become a part of their lives.
A detailed overview is provided in my first book Total Addiction: The Life of an Eclipse Chaser. but here is a little taster about what they feel:
Overwhelming sense of anticipation in the lead-up to the eclipse; eerie-ness, excitement, amazement, wonder.
Goosebumps, slight pleasurable panic, palpitations, elevated sense of perception.
The last thirty seconds before totality are unbearably intense and my eyes usually fill with tears that I cannot stop.
When the light changes, and the temperature does a dramatic drop – so probably close to 95% totality – there is a noticeable shift in the air, and you just know that the shadow is rushing somewhere not far from you and will be with you imminently – nothing can stop it. It really is a very primitive feeling.
You can already feel the excitement long before, and the adrenaline flow in the last moments. Very primal emotions and spiritual experience.
The moment second contact occurs – it just seems to ‘click’ into place, and just feels right. The emotions and physical sensations match up and it’s overwhelming.
I feel I am at one with the cosmos.