April 25, 2024

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Virginia man travels the world for eclipses

3 min read

When most people plan a vacation, it’s to go relax on a beach or explore new cities. But one Northern Virginia resident plans his trips around total solar eclipses.

WASHINGTON — Lloyd Franklin has always had a fascination with space. Growing up during the Apollo program, the astronauts were his heroes and inspired his career as an aerospace engineer. And his passion for astronomy has taken him all around the world…literally!

Franklin has had the pleasure of viewing a total solar eclipse on every continent. 

“It just happened that I’ve actually stood on the each of the seven continents on earth, looked up and seen this amazing sight,” he said. 

Franklin first caught the eclipse chasing bug in Curacao in 1998.

“It was just, you know [gasps], you’re just standing and then you start saying, where’s the next one,” Franklin said. 

His travels have since taken him to Germany, the Indian Ocean, Australia, Egypt, China, Easter Island, Svalbard – the northern most town in the world – Wyoming, Argentina, and most recently Antarctica.

“It’s a great excuse to go, because it’s a part of the world you’ve never been to, and you see the most amazing thing you can in the sky,” he said. “In the worst case, if the eclipse is a little cloudy, whatever, you still can get a great vacation out of it.”

Because for Franklin, the eclipse is just one part of these trips, the adventure is another. He’s experienced it all, from dog sledding to ice caving and seeing Machu Picchu. 

RELATED: Here’s how often total solar eclipses happen

“Eclipse chasing really gives you an opportunity to experience the world,” Franklin said.  “We went down in Southern Brazil and to Iguazú Falls. We took a visit to Devils Tower, to Mount Rushmore.”

He and his wife have even watched the eclipse deep in the Outback of Australia, only to then go deep sea diving in the Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef.

And they’ve made some great friends along the way. 

“It’s always fun meeting people,” he said. “You get folks from all over the world.”

And each eclipse has brought something unique.

“Even though they look the same here, every totality is different,” Franklin said. “The Coronas is different shaped, if it’s a solar maximum, you know, it may be more symmetrical,” says Franklin. “A lot of time I can see a photo of totality and say ‘I think I know which one that is’.”

Now, you would think travel for the eclipse on Monday here in the U.S. would be a piece of cake, but along with a fellow space-loving friend, Franklin has coordinated a watch party with about 200 friends and family members in Texas. He says he realizes most people don’t travel the world to see the total solar eclipse, so he sees it as an opportunity to bring loved ones together.

He already has a deposit down for a trip to Greenland to see the total solar eclipse in 2026.

RELATED: Will I be able to see the total solar eclipse if I’m not in the path of totality?

RELATED: What time you can watch the solar eclipse in the DMV

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2024-04-03 22:48:18

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