Eclipse chaser tells Nebraskans 'You're in the right place, at the right time'

Expert: You won't want to miss August eclipse. (NTV News)

Nebraska is one of the few states in the path of the total eclipse, and a solar eclipse chaser traveled 4,000 miles just to tell you it's an event you won't want to miss.

"I wanted to come to Nebraska to be able to share the excitement and let you know how lucky you all are to be within the path of totality," Dr. Kate Russo said.

From Ireland to the Cornhusker state, "I've been chasing eclipses now for 18 years," Russo said. "This will be my 11th total solar eclipse."

She's helping Nebraskans get ready to plunge into darkness.

"A total solar eclipse, it's when the moon moves in front of the sun and it blocks the sun, and you experience something called totality. It really is a very, very special and unique experience," Russo said.

On August 21, the total solar eclipse will sweep across the country from Oregon to South Carolina.

"In Nebraska, the path actually covers about 40% of the state, and there's about 200 communities all within the path of totality," she said. "Ravenna is special because it's right on the center line of totality and this means that you get the maximum amount to time during the total solar eclipse."

Chamber of Commerce director Gena McPherson has been planning more than a year for something expected to last 2 minutes and 35 seconds.

"We have definitely been coming up with more and more events to add to our weekend," McPherson said.

Plans include a parade, fun run, and the town will host a NASA astronaut and engineer.

The town of 1,300 is expected to be flooded with people from around the world.

"Last year we had a gentleman fly in from japan, and he came into town and booked a room at our Grand View Inn, right on Grand Avenue," McPherson said.

While all the hotel rooms here are full, McPherson said there will be plenty of room for people to camp out.

"We have places available here and we're going to fill them," McPherson said.

Mayor Peg Dethlefs said this spot is extra special, because tourists can enjoy it without the hustle and bustle of a big city.

"We're kind of a rural community; we have a lot of open spaces," Dethlefs said.

So what are the odds something as rare as a total solar eclipse will be visible from the small town of Ravenna?

"You only get a chance to experience this once in every 375 years in one location. You just happen to be at the right place at the right time to see this," Russo said. "This is really a once in a lifetime opportunity to see this total eclipse within your own community."

On Wednesday, June 21 Dr. Russo will be at the Ravenna City Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. to talk to the community about the eclipse and help with planning.

Dr. Russo also will give two programs at Central Community College-Grand Island: “Total Solar Eclipse: The Experience” from 7 to 9 p.m. on June 23 and “Total Solar Eclipse: The Science” from 7 to 9 p.m. on June 26. For more information, click here.

For more on Dr. Russo or to purchase her book "Being in the Shadow", click here.

If you're wondering, the next total solar eclipse will be in 2019, visible from South America.

To follow Ifesinachi Egbosimba's coverage on this story and others, click here for Twitter and click here for Facebook.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off