1. mass noun Existence.
1.1 Being alive; living.
2. in singular The nature or essence of a person.
1. mass noun Partial or complete darkness, a body coming between rays of light and a surface.
2. Something insubstantial or fleeting.
Welcome to the site that delves into the total solar eclipse experience: Being in the Shadow
You may have heard that a total solar eclipse is one of the most awesome and sublime nature events. But the real question is – what is it like to experience a total eclipse?
A Total Solar Eclipse occurs when the Moon moves between the Sun and the Earth, completely covering the disc of the Sun. When this occurs, the shadow of the Moon is cast onto the Earth along what is called the path of totality. Everyone and everything within that path is plunged into an eerie darkness. Totality – those special moments of darkness – is an awesome experience and should be on top of everyone’s bucket list.
You do not just see a total eclipse – you experience it. There are changes above you, around you, and within you.
Totality is an unusual experience that affects us profoundly, and is difficult to describe. We may understand the ‘science’ of what happens as the Moon moves in front of the Sun – but no-one ever predicts how or why the experience affects us so deeply, or why it is so thrilling and awe-inspiring.
A total eclipse occurs once every 18 months on average, somewhere around the world. However, in a single location it only occurs rarely – once in every 375 years on average.
I was curious enough to travel to get into the path of totality back in 1999, assuming that I would tick off seeing a total solar eclipse from my bucket list. However, I was completely and unexpectedly overwhelmed. I realised the total eclipse experience is something very unique and special as a human experience.
You do not have to be a scientist, an astronomer, or a bearded man with a telescope to enjoy the total eclipse experience – anyone can experience the intensity of totality. You will never regret travelling to see a total solar eclipse – in fact, you will ask yourself why you waited so long.
COUNTDOWN TO TOTALITY
THE FOCUS OF THIS WEBSITE
Many websites focus on the scientific aspects of eclipses – how eclipses occur, and detailed maps of the path of totality. The focus of this website is more on the human experience – the lived experience of totality.
If you are looking for something specific, these quick links will take you to the most useful section or resource.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO EXPERIENCE A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE?
See this overview page on the eclipse experience, and watch the videos and webcasts which delve a little deeper into the experience.
WHY IS THE FIRST TIME EXPERIENCE SO SPECIAL?
See the page on the first time experience. Also read my third book, Being in the Shadow: Stories of the First Time Total Eclipse Experience to understand more.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE AN ECLIPSE CHASER?
Read my first book, Total Addiction: The Life of an Eclipse Chaser. Also see the eclipse chaser page to gain more insight into our fascinating lives.
HOW CAN I JOIN ONE OF YOUR ECLIPSE TOURS?
After leading sold-out eclipse tours with The Independent Traveller over the past five years, I have now started a new partnership with Insider Expeditions. Note that COVID-19 has significantly restricted chasing opportunities.
HOW DOES A COMMUNITY WITHIN THE PATH OF TOTALITY PREPARE?
You should explore the planning for communities page. Also, make sure to download my very useful White Paper on Community Eclipse Planning.
RESEARCH INTO THE TOTAL ECLIPSE EXPERIENCE
I have surveyed and interviewed hundreds of people about their eclipse experience. Many eclipse projects are in the pipeline. Check out my projects here.
THE ‘GREAT AMERICAN’ ECLIPSE OF AUGUST 21, 2017
Details about the total eclipse visible from 14 states in the US, on August 21, 2017 can be found here. You will also find links to other sites for more detailed information.
WHERE CAN I SEE THE NEXT TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE?
The next total eclipse is on December 4, 2021, with the path of totality making landfall over Antarctica. Intrepid chasers will mostly be viewing from the Weddell Sea – pending travel restrictions from COVID-19.
HOW CAN I GET HOLD OF YOUR ECLIPSE EXPERIENCE BOOKS?
My books are available to order from this site, Amazon, and in good book stores. Please get in touch for signed or multiple copy requests.
I am a Clinical Psychologist, and have been chasing eclipses for two decades. It is now my mission to share the total eclipse experience with others, and I have developed two areas of expertise.
Firstly – I research the eclipse experience, bridging the gap between psychology and astronomy. By interviewing and analysing first-hand eclipse accounts, I put words to the experience where most people struggle. I am featured extensively in the media and do many presentations.
Secondly, I have developed extensive experience in advising and consulting with communities within the path of totality to help with community eclipse preparations. I have been researching this topic since 2012, and especially enjoy helping create buzz and excitement within the path of totality on the ground in the lead up to a total eclipse.
Make sure to explore these sections of the website, and get in touch if I can help you with anything.
A total solar eclipse is not just an astronomical event, but is an awe-inspiring nature event that can be appreciated by all. Whatever you do, make sure you see a total solar eclipse at least once in your life. And when you do, I guarantee that you will want to re-experience it again and again. Then you will have joined a tribe of people from around the world who love nothing more than to stand in the shadow of the Moon – the community of eclipse chasers. You will be most welcomed.
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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 […]
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 […]