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Michelle Binzel has witnessed six total solar eclipses during her lifetime across the globe, including the Great American Eclipse 2017 in Rexburg, Idaho, on the BYU-Idaho campus.

August 24, 2017
Writer: Mackenzie Holbrook

Total solar eclipses are, no doubt, an incredible site to see -- but those known as "eclipse chasers" have more intense feelings about these celestial anomalies.

During the Great American Eclipse 2017, representatives from MIT were camped out in the Spori Quad on the BYU-Idaho campus. Some of the representatives were professors at MIT, some professors at other universities, others pay MIT and have the privilege to travel with the institute to places all over the world, just to see total solar eclipses.

Roughly three minutes before totality hit Rexburg, Rick Binzel, the MIT representative who was in charge of their journey to Rexburg, pulled out a megaphone and began calling out the different phases of the eclipse.

"Ten, nine eight -- diamond ring, diamond ring, this is the diamond ring," Binzel said through the megaphone. "We have totality."

Binzel continued to call out the phases as the moon passed completely in front of the sun.

As the eclipse reached totality, I noticed a woman standing next to me who was particularly emotional.

She was saying things like, "Oh, it's beautiful," and "Wow, can you see the red solar prominences," and she was crying.

When totality ended and things started to calm down again, I tracked down this woman -- Michelle Binzel, Rick's wife -- and asked her why she was so emotional.

"It's a spiritual experience, it really is," Michelle said.

She went on to tell me that she feels solar eclipses are God's handiwork.

"It's really special to see one," she said. "It's a privilege. It's an unbelievable thing that God made for us to show His grandeur and the power of His creation ... it's amazing."

Michelle said the Great American Eclipse 2017 was the sixth total solar eclipse she's witnessed, and she doesn't plan to stop chasing them anytime soon.

To listen to her full interview from our show Weekdays on BYU-Idaho Radio, just click below.