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105-year-old eclipse chaser excited to add 13th to his list, and shares advice

2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago Saturday, March 30 2024 Mar 30, 2024 March 30, 2024 12:35 PM March 30, 2024 in News - AP Texas Headlines
Source: CNN
By: Ken Molestina and Crystal Cooper, KTVT-TV
Laverne Biser has witnessed 12 solar eclipses in his life, and he's ready to watch his 13th on April 8. KTVT via CNN Newsource
Originally Published: 29 MAR 24 12:23 ET

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    FORT WORTH, Texas (KTVT) -- From Texas to Brazil, a 105-year-old eclipse chaser from Fort Worth has witnessed 12 solar eclipses in his life and he's ready to watch his 13th on April 8.

It all started in 1963 when Laverne Biser packed up his bags and headed for Maine to witness his first eclipse. Six decades later, his love for this rare celestial event has taken him places he'd never visited before — and he's been taking photos of them ever since.

"That's my pride and joy because it's hard to take," he said. "You had to put your camera up to a black sky…you hope you're going to point it in the right direction."

One of his favorite photos he's taken was in 1979 during a solar eclipse in Williston, South Dakota.

"We've traveled all over the world to see them," Biser said. "You see one, you want to see them all. They are so pretty."

What makes this eclipse so special, though, is that it's right here in his backyard. His advice to viewers: Make sure you watch the entire eclipse.

"With glasses, watch the whole thing, but take them off when it goes total. Look how pretty it is. You'll say, 'Oh… I want to see more of these,'" Biser said.

However, it is important to put safety first, and there is a risk of eye damage if you're not wearing protective glasses right before and after the sun is completely covered. You can read more in the story linked below.

Biser's love for the cosmos even involves him building handmade telescopes. One of the largest in his shop is over six feet tall and was built nearly 60 years ago.

"I made the whole thing ... I ground a mirror," Biser said. "It can take hours to weeks to ground a telescope mirror."

Biser graduated from Ohio State University in mechanical engineering in 1942. He moved to Fort Worth to design airplanes at Carswell Airforce Base for the rest of his career. However, his obsession with the cosmos began in his high school science class.

"I love astronomy…I loved all of my science classes," he said.

The thrill of watching eclipses will forever be one of his greatest passions.

"I'm [almost] 106. They don't come but one or two, every couple of years," Biser said. "I may not see anymore. I may not see any more eclipses."

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