Researching the total solar eclipse experience – putting words to the ineffable

Dr. Kate Russo

Dr Kate Russo has been engaging in researching the eclipse experience and eclipse planning for several years, starting with her surveys and interviews with eclipse chasers for her first book Total Addiction:  The Life of an Eclipse Chaser.  She has since surveyed and interviewed hundreds of people about their eclipse experiences.  She undertook detailed research before and after the 2012 total eclipse in her home region of Far North Queensland.  More recently, she undertook a post-eclipse research workshop at the Eclipse Festival in Sulawesi, Indonesia.  Along with trying to put words to the indescribable experience of totality, her research also has real world applications – she undertook detailed post-eclipse interviews with eclipse coordinators in 2012 and 2015 to produce her White Paper on Community Eclipse Planning, which is being used by many communities along the path of totality for the 2017 eclipse.  

Kate is a Clinical Psychologist by profession, and is an expert in Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.  She has taken time out of her psychology career for the foreseeable future to focus on her eclipse research, planning, events and media.  She is planning to relocate to the US in 2017 to do a high profile outreach tour along the path of totality. 





Dr Kate Russo is an Australian author, psychologist and eclipse chaser who has lived in Belfast for almost 20 years. Professionally, she is a Clinical Psychologist and academic, formerly with Queen’s University Belfast. She became hooked after seeing her first total solar eclipse from France in 1999, and has since seen ten total eclipses in her 15 years of chasing. As a psychologist, she researches the eclipse experience and has published two books: Total Addiction: The Life of an Eclipse Chaser; and Totality: The Total eclipse of 2012 in Far North Queensland. She has become a leading authority on the eclipse experience, and now helps with planning, events and media on the ground in the lead up to every eclipse. Her message is clear – a total solar eclipse should be enjoyed by everyone – and not just men with beards and telescopes.


Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 10:30