Interview with an eclipse hunter

QS What sparked your passion for chasing eclipses?

JFG It's often the same story for all eclipse hunters. We happen to see one, and then we want more and more. In my case, the first eclipse was in 1999, in France with my college friends. It has never stopped since. I missed a few eclipses like the one in Antarctica, but the trip cost about $80,000!

QS Are there many eclipse chasers in the world?

JFG There are maybe 20,000 of us who track eclipses this way and never miss a single one. There are maybe fifteen of us in Quebec.

QS Do you use any special equipment to record the eclipse?

JFG Yes, I do astrophotography. Since the eclipse happens very quickly and we also want to watch it, I use an automated system with a computer that controls 5 to 6 cameras to take pictures at the right time with different pause times.

QS Is there a particular eclipse that you find most memorable?

JFG It's hard to name a specific eclipse. I like the ones that appear near the horizon, at sunrise or sunset. I witnessed the eclipse in Argentina at sunset, right over the Andes mountain range. This produces very nice photos. I also loved Libya and Mongolia because of the travel associated with those eclipses.

A significant event was the eclipse that took place in China in 2009. It was the longest I had the chance to observe, it lasted about 6 minutes.

Here's a photo of a total solar eclipse that Jean-Fran├žois Guay particularly appreciates. He immortalized this eclipse that took place in Australia on April 20, 2023. Photo: Jean-Fran├žois Guay

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