'We're going to get two minutes of darkness followed by hamburgers'
MONMOUTH, Ore. —
One couple in Monmouth, Oregon has spent half their lives gearing up for next month’s eclipse.
Jon and Susan Brewster have been planning for the Aug. 21 eclipse for decades, even constructing their house so they have the perfect view of the big event.
On top of their two-car garage, just off the master bedroom, they’ve built a 7-foot by 7-foot dome that houses a telescope that will capture the eclipse.
They bought the property in the early 1990s. The observatory on their roof has been there for 16 years.
“The site plan had to be just right to get the viewing that we wanted,” says Jon Brewster.
Nearly every aspect of the house is engineered for perfect viewing of outer space.
Brewster says he’s been gearing up for August’s eclipse since 1979.
“This thing is coming at us like a freight train,” he says. ‘It’s been decades, and then it was years, and then it was months, and now it’s weeks,” he says.
Brewster developed the software to make the dome fully automated.
“I’ve even gone out to dinner and monitored the observations from the cellphone - make sure that everything is good,” he says.
The dome sits atop a 20-foot concrete column that’s completely separate from the rest of the house. Brewster couldn’t jeopardize a vibration coming from another room and messing up his camera’s perfect shot of the eclipse.
“We’re testing things, we’re doing trial runs, we’re amping up the logistics, because everybody wants to come,” he says.
On the morning of the eclipse, Brewster has only about five minutes of work to do. He’ll untie some things, open up the dome, and then the years of planning and months of trial runs will hopefully pay off.
“All of this work, all of this time, all of this effort, and it’s cloudy that day - it’s Oregon, it could be cloudy,” Brewster says. “It’s part of the game. It’s not a problem. We’re going to get two minutes of darkness followed by hamburgers.”