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The View for Fresno Eclipse Chasers in Texas? 'Awesome' to 'Good Consolation Prize'
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By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 2 months ago on
April 8, 2024

The total eclipse photographed in Plugerville, Texas, Monday, April 8, 2024. (Special to GV Wire/Chris Walcek, State University of New York at Albany, emeritus atmospheric scientist)

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INGRAM, Texas —For four minutes Monday, the sky darkened into an early nighttime as the moon’s shadow swept over campers who had gathered from around the western U.S. and even as far as Germany for the chance to see the total eclipse of the sun.

But, as anybody who works in real estate knows, it’s all about location, location, location.

In Ingram, a tiny town just outside Kerrville, Texas, on the banks of the Guadalupe River, the sight of the moon-blocked sun and its corona were visible for only a few seconds Monday afternoon, causing onlookers to cheer.

Kerrville, in Texas’ Hill Country that is famous for its springtime bluebonnets and other wildflowers, was among the areas that forecasters had believed would have the best chance of clear springtime skies and the location drew thousands of eclipse hopefuls. As it turned out, the skies were much clearer in other parts of the Lone Star State.

Fresno’s Dan Comelli: ‘Totally Awesome!’

One hundred miles away in Plugerville, Texas, just outside the state capital of Austin, Fresnan Dan Comelli reported that he and other family members got to see the entire eclipse, including the diamond ring and red flare.

“Totally awesome!” he texted. Comelli and his wife had traveled to Plugerville for an eclipse-themed family reunion and watched the celestial event from his niece’s backyard.

Fresnan John Ellis was not as fortunate. Ellis and other family members had gathered for his niece’s wedding. Kendall Hall, a University High School graduate from Fresno who is now a Chico State physics professor, had wanted an eclipse-themed wedding, so she got married Saturday in her husband’s hometown of San Antonio.

On Monday, Ellis and family were in Concan, just north of Uvalde, and had some views of the partial eclipse leading up to and following totality.

“Unfortunately, a thick cloud bank completely obscured totality. But we all knew what was happening because an eerie twilight came over the area. It felt a bit like nighttime with lights from a camper the brightest thing around. So that was a pretty good consolation prize,” Ellis texted.

The moon partially covers the sun during a total solar eclipse, as seen from Eagle Pass, Texas, Monday, April 8, 2024. (AP/Eric Gay)

Gathering in Ingram

Sarah Stewart, a mechanical engineering student who is doing an internship with Boeing in Houston for work with NASA’s International Space Station, traveled from Lake Jackson on the Texas coast to Ingram with her mom Kelly. There, they met with Sarah Stewart’s grandparents Johnnie and Jeanette Anderson, who traveled from Oklahoma City.

Stewart was setting up the large telescope that her late father had purchased, and soon she was offering close-up looks of the eclipse in progress for other campers to view. Monday’s eclipse likely won’t be her last, although she’ll need to travel to Alaska for the next total eclipse. Her specialty is building rockets – the kind that go up past 30,000 feet and need to be tested at White Sands in New Mexico.

Sarah Stewart brought her dad’s solar telescope to Ingram Texas to view the eclipse, Monday. April 8, 2024. (GV Wire/Nancy Price)

Kyle Cerniglia had traveled from Tucson, Arizona, to use his specialized photography equipment. Cerniglia’s company assisted with creating the Sphere at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas, and one of the optical technicians sparked his interest in astrophotography.

Cerniglia’s company also has a connection to the International Space Station. They are helping to design a camera that is being sent to the ISS. The chances of it working in space? “Fifty-fifty,” he said with a chuckle.

Kyle Cerniglia of Tucson, Arizona, prepares to photograph Monday’s eclipse in Ingram, Texas, Monday, April 8, 2024. (GV Wire/Nancy Price)

Ben Evans of Monument, Colorado, had a camera pointed skyward as he and his friend Preston Smith of Scottsdale, Arizona, enjoyed the morning sunshine at their Ingram campsite. The pair had traveled to Casper, Wyoming, for the 2017 total eclipse.

Eclipses didn’t used to be such a big deal as they have become in recent years, Smith said, adding, “I guess people got more time now.”

From Germany to Ingram

One of the longest-distance travelers to Ingram was Klaus Kalauch, who works at a planetarium and observatory in Schneeberg, Germany. Kalauch had hoped to photograph the entire eclipse, from first contact to last and the totality, and then display the photos at the planetarium in the future.

Unlike Stewart and Cerniglia, who were excited about seeing their first eclipse, Monday’s was Kalauch’s seventh. He has traveled all over the world, including China, Turkey, Hungary, and now the U.S., to see the moon blot out the sun (or, in the case of eclipse-watchers in Ingram, to see the clouds blot out the eclipse).

But even though he’s already seen six, eclipses are still exciting for Kalauch, who said in German, “I think a total solar eclipse is a wonderful experience to understand nature and see how small we humans actually are.”

Clouds part as a partial eclipse of the sun and moon cross atop the New Sweden Evangelical Lutheran Church steeple Monday, April 8, 2024, in Manor, Texas. (AP /Charles Rex Arbogast)

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Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

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