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Solar Eclipse Enthusiast - KOAM TV 7

Solar Eclipse Enthusiast

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    You're probably familiar with the phrase, 'What would you do for a Klondike Bar', but, for one Joplin woman and her family, it's 'What would you do for a solar eclipse?'
Libby Burleson was first introduced to solar eclipse 'mania' in 2002.
    Her mother saw the craze and started a business, specializing in 'eclipse cruises'.
    That's when Libby and her family loaded up on a ten day journey to the middle of the ocean, just to see the total eclipse of the sun.
Burleson: "My first totality was 32 seconds.  32 seconds, we traveled out into the middle of the ocean for, went through storms, went through clouds, emotions, highs, lows, doubts, every emotion you could think of, for 32 seconds."
    Since then, the family has logged thousands of miles -- catching total eclipses across the world.
    Her passport, stamped from Fiji, South Africa, Bolivia, and points in between.
    The cruises carry on average about 200 people, who all have the same reaction during 'totality'.
Burleson: "When they're screaming at the top of their lungs because of the excitement and the elation and then you look up...and there's a hole in the sky, and there's no other way of explaining it other than a hole in the sky."
    During the excitement, everyone is looking for the one person who manages to grab 'the money shot.'
Burleson: "The money shot is a perfect diamond ring, it's where, one part of the sun, and I have pictures, one part of the sun that pokes through the outer layer of the moon, and it looks like a diamond ring."
    Libby says no matter how many times she's seen the eclipse, she's still deeply impacted by the experience.
Burleson: "Something about that shakes you to your core, something about it, you know there's a spiritual connection, you don't know what it is, where it's coming from and then it's over."
    A connection she'll be sharing with her kids as they travel to Kansas City to see the eclipse this Monday.

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Chris Warner
Reporter

A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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