Seeing a total solar eclipse is often described as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Nevertheless, for many who have experienced totality, once-in-a-lifetime is simply not enough. They want more and are willing to go to great lengths, often at great expense, to repeat the experience. However, total solar eclipses are very rare events, occurring on average every 18 months, often make limited landfall or pass over sparsely inhabited landscapes. But in contrast to the late 1800s, where only scientists could journey to the path of totality, travelling today is much more affordable and accessible. In fact, it has never been easier to be an eclipse chaser. A new book, Total Addiction
by Kate Russo, is all about the passion for total solar eclipses.
What is it like to experience totality? What is the motivation of chasing eclipses? And is there an eclipse chaser personality? Kate gives answers to those who haven’t yet experienced a total solar eclipse. She describes totality as an event that allows a person to experience the three-dimensional nature of the Universe: You are standing on a planet, observing another heavenly body cross paths with a third. The scale is unimaginable, yet here it is happening right on top of you and around you. You can literally feel the ominous shadow of the Moon, rushing towards you at a speed of up to 5,000 miles per hour. Then the Sun, the Moon and Earth are all in perfect alignment – and people are in awe.
Even though Kate is a professional psychologist and skilled in communication, unfolding the thrill of experiencing a total eclipse is a challenge. The book uses two approaches in order to reveal the special moments of totality. The first approach is the description of physical and emotional reactions of the observers and the explanation why they produce such an intense response. The second consists of detailed interviews with eclipse chasers, which provide a more detailed understanding of why the experience of totality has such an impact upon those who experience it.Total Addiction
describes the people who dedicate their lives to chasing their dream. And it gives tips for those who have never experienced totality. The next chance to witness a total solar eclipse - maybe even to become an eclipse chaser - will be on November 13, 2012, when the shadow of the moon passes over Northern Australia.
Kate Russo is a seasoned eclipse chaser, having experienced nine eclipses in some of the most fascinating and far-flung locations on Earth. She has been hooked ever since her first total eclipse in 1999. Professionally, Kate has worked as a clinical psychologist in the UK for the last 14 years. In her clinical work and research, she specialises in helping children and adults find meaning in their lives despite living with chronic and life-limiting medical conditions. Kate is a native Australian, but when not standing in the shadow of the Moon, she can generally be found in her adopted home of Belfast, Northern Ireland.Review copies are available immediately for journalists and book reviewers, both online and in print. Interviews with the author also available.