105-Year-Old Eclipse Chaser Is Preparing For Number 13

Laverne Biser has spent the last 60 years chasing eclipses around the world. On Monday, April 8, the spectacle is coming to his own backyard in Texas.
Solar eclipse before moment of totality.
Solar eclipse before moment of totality. / Justin Sullivan/GettyImages

North Americans will be treated to a total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024. The celestial phenomenon is fairly rare, occurring just once every year and a half on average. After Monday, the moon won’t eclipse the sun above the contiguous U.S. again for another 20 years, making the event a once-in-a-life-time opportunity for many. For Laverne Biser of Fort Worth, Texas, it will mark his thirteenth time viewing the natural spectacle.

As KTVT reports, the 105-year-old has been chasing eclipses for the past 60 years. In 1963, he witnessed his first total solar eclipse on a visit to Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. After watching the moon fully cover the sun, creating dark skies and a dazzling corona around the satellite, he was hooked for life. 

“You see one, you want to see them all,” he told the local news outlet. “They are so pretty.”

Biser’s love of astronomy began in his high school science classes. After earning a degree in mechanical engineering from Ohio State University in 1942, he moved to Fort Worth, Texas, to design aircraft for the Carswell Air Force Base. While he’s lived in the area ever since, his passion for eclipses has taken him around the world. He’s been to the Virgin Islands, Brazil, the Black Sea, and across the U.S. to see them in person. In between his travels, he indulges his hobby by building his own telescopes. The most impressive instrument in his collection stands 6 feet tall and features a mirror he ground himself. 

After chasing eclipses around the globe, Biser won’t have to travel farther than his backyard to experience the upcoming show. His home in Texas falls directly in the path of totality for next week’s North American eclipse. The circumstances are fitting for what will be the thirteenth—and possibly last—total solar eclipse of his lifetime. 

When asked about advice for first-time eclipse viewers, the 105-year-old shared these wise words: Keep your solar glasses on until the moment of totality. If you’re preparing to take part in the event on April 8, here are more safety tips to keep in mind. 

[h/t WVTM 13]