‘You see one, you want to see them all’: 105-year-old man excited by his 13th solar eclipse | Solar eclipses

LAverne Biser has traveled to several U.S. states as well as a handful of foreign countries to observe and admire more than a dozen solar eclipses. But for what could be his last, April 8, the 105-year-old retired engineer won’t need to go far.

The total eclipse is expected to pass over his home in Fort Worth, Texas. And he plans to enjoy the occasion — what is expected to be his 13th solar eclipse — with his daughter and granddaughter in nearby Plano.

After all, “I’m almost 106 years old,” Biser recently told local news outlet KTVT. “They only come once or twice every two years. Maybe I won’t see again. Maybe I won’t see any more eclipses.

Biser has made the media rounds as embodying enthusiasm for building across the United States for what will be the last total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous lower 48 states until 2044.

As he told KTVT and other media outlets, Biser made his living designing airplanes at a U.S. air force base in Fort Worth after earning a degree in mechanical engineering from Ohio State University. Yet he has also harbored a passion for the cosmos since he began studying astronomy in his high school science class.

He said he honored that love by building his own telescopes by hand — a process that involves polishing a mirror — to study the stars overhead.

“It can take hours or even weeks to ground a telescope mirror,” Biser said.

Additionally, in July 1963, he packed his bags and traveled to Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, to observe and fall in awe of his first solar eclipse in person. He attended 11 more over the next 60 years, collecting memories and photographs and sharing his quest with his two children and his wife, Marion, who died in January 2023.

Besides Maine, states Biser has visited include North Dakota, Alabama, New Mexico and Nebraska. He also visited the US territory of the Virgin Islands.

A typed list of Biser’s solar eclipse trips that he organizes shows that a 1991 observation in Hawaii was obscured. It also shows that he traveled abroad, to Canada, Brazil and the Black Sea.

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“You see one, you want to see them all,” Biser told KTVT plainly. “They’re so pretty.”

He was able to witness the “Ring of Fire” annular solar eclipse, visible in parts of the United States in October, in Fort Worth. And as his only home state would have preparing to welcome up to $1.4 billion in tourism associated with the eclipse, Biser said he has some advice for new viewers.

He echoed the well-known advice of strictly observing the eclipse using protective glasses when the sun is partially covered. However, he also told the Texas TV news station KRIV “take those (glasses) off” during the fleeting moments when the sun is entirely eclipsed and gaze at the scene until it passes and it is time to shield your eyes again.

“It’s a beautiful thing to see,” he told KRIV. Biser added to KTVT: “You’ll say, ‘Oh…I want to see more.’ » »

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