MONMOUTH, Ore. — An Oregon couple believes their property has the best view for this summer’s solar eclipse. And they should, considering they have been preparing for the event for close to 40 years.
Jon Brewster and his wife have taken some extreme measures to make sure nothing blocks their view.
Back in 1979, during the last total solar eclipse visible in Oregon, overcast skies blocked the view for many in Portland.
Since then, the Brewsters have been planning for nearly a lifetime to get the best view possible for the August event.
They built their house in 2001 on a specific piece of land in order to be in line with the eclipse, and even included a high tech, 7-foot, domed telescope in the plans.
"We call it Mistletoe Observatory because it's on Mistletoe Road," said Brewster. "We've seen supernovas from here, we've detected planets and suns and held lots and lots of star parties."
Brewster, an electrical engineer with Hewlett-Packard, wrote computer software to operate his fully automated observatory, which is set to photograph the eclipse.
"I don't want to miss the eclipse myself, I want to watch it,” said Brewster. “Just let the equipment do what it does."
Brewster said some may think all this work for such a short event is strange, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We’ve been planning for all these years to be ready for the big great American eclipse,” Brewster said. “I wrote the dome control software and attached it to the scope software. All of this work for two minutes. I’m like, ‘Yes, of course. It was never a question.’ ”
Brewster will share his passion with 100 friends on eclipse weekend.
He said the eclipse isn't the only reason they built their home where they did.
"We're not completely kooks," said Brewster. "But we've known and planned all along and it's just a great place to do astronomy."
Local officials say stargazers are coming from England and France, even as far away as Japan and China, for the celestial event.
KGW's Katherine Cook contributed to this story.