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Texas woman who measures her life in eclipses about to see her 21st

Photo of eclipse
Eclipse chaser Leticia Ferrer and her husband Daniel Brookshier observe the sun through eclipse glasses, in front of their home in Dallas, Texas, U.S., April 3, 2024. (REUTERS/Evan Garcia)
By Evan Garcia | REUTERS

Leticia Ferrer is an “umbraphile” — literally, a shadow lover — but what it really means is that she is a chaser of eclipses.

The 63-year-old Texas woman says she has traveled to all seven continents and even the oceans between them in pursuit of total solar eclipses, seeing every one since 1998, and several before then.

The total eclipse over North America on Monday will raise that count to 21, but this time she need not travel far. Her Dallas-area home in Farmers Branch is within the eclipse’s path of totality – or when the sun is fully blocked by the moon. Still, she plans to travel about an hour south just to enjoy a few more moments of the eclipse.

“I’m addicted to that feeling of … for those few seconds or minutes, being one with the universe and being really present and feeling it. And then, of course, there’s always the planning for the next one,” Ferrer said.

“My life is measured in eclipses.”

Ferrer budgets for travel and takes vacation from her day job to witness the events, saying this will be her third in North America.

“I’ve been to Europe for one of them. I’ve now gone to Africa twice. I’ve gone to Australia three times. I’ve gone to Antarctica twice. I’ve gone to Asia three times. I think that counts for Indonesia. Oh, and a couple of oceans. There were a couple of them, we were in the middle of the Atlantic or the middle of the Pacific. It wasn’t on land anywhere,” Ferrer said.

Her obsession has had its challenges. In 2017, Ferrer was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, but she delayed treatment to make it to see an eclipse that year. In 2010, her first husband died, and she traveled to South America the following month because, “I watched his dreams die with him, and I’m not going to let my dreams die.”

A year later, Ferrer met her current husband on a dating website where her profile stated she had a mission to see every total solar eclipse. She will also hunt the occasional hybrid solar eclipse.

Ferrer, who has a podcast about eclipses and has traveled across Texas for speaking engagements, says she hopes to make it to age 103 so she can see her 50th total or hybrid solar eclipse.

Editor’s Note: Reporting by Evan Garcia; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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