Eclipse chaser returns for Cairns event
AN Ingham-born international "eclipse chaser" is heading home for this year's solar event.
Kate Russo, a paediatric clinical psychologist in Northern Ireland, has been fascinated by eclipses since a child.
She said she was addicted to total eclipses and had written one book with another on the way.
Dr Russo saw her first total eclipse in France in 1999 and has not stopped since.
"I was completely blown away by that first experience," she said.
"I had absolutely no idea that you could have such a strong physical and emotional response to an eclipse.
"The goosebumps, the emotional overwhelm, the feeling of being connected to something bigger, the rush, the euphoria.
"I was definitely hooked after that first time, and once I returned home I then started my eclipse chasing career, making plans to go and see the next one."
Dr Russo, whose parents Joe and Teresa Russo run Brumby’s Bakery at Ingham, has been to total eclipses in Madagascar (2001), Lyndhurst in South Australia (2002), Iceland (2003), Galapagos Islands and Tunisia (2005), Cappadocia in Turkey (2006), Mongolia (2008) and China (2009), while missing out in 2004 in Antarctica and in 2010 on Easter Island.
"As an eclipse chaser I have a default setting that I will go out of my way to travel to as many eclipses as I can," she said.
"It’s just something that I feel I have to do, something that is a big part of my life, a part of who I am.
"This total eclipse on November 14 will be really special for a number of reasons.
"Each eclipse is unique and different, and each time we travel to see an eclipse there is so much to look forward to, whether it’s because of the country we are visiting, the culture, the experiences we have at the same time – and the eclipse itself.
"This time, I’ll get to share the experience with my family."
Dr Russo said she planned to see the November eclipse at Palm Cove but had a back-up plan and would possibly go inland depending on the weather forecast.
She plans a few public lectures and launching her first book Total Addiction: The Life of an Eclipse Chaser while in the region as well as gathering research for the next book, Transformed by the Shadow.
Dr Russo is planning her next trips with partner Geordie to include November next year in Kenya or Uganda, Svarlbard in Norway in March 2015 and Indonesia in 2016.
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