German couple comes to Wyoming for 12th total eclipse

Couple shares tips for first time eclipse chasers


CASPER, Wy. – Werner Mattenheimer says when he saw his first partial eclipse as a boy in school in Germany, he was in awe.

Mattenheimer waited anxiously from the first time he had a taste of an eclipse as a boy until 1999, when Germany experienced a total solar eclipse. After that, he was hooked.

Mattenheimer and his wife Sabine have now traveled to 11 different total solar eclipses around the world. Monday's Great American Eclipse will be their 12th.

The eclipse-chasing couple has been to several continents to find these stellar phenomena. Their first trip to find an eclipse was a special eclipse cruise in the Caribbean. Since then they've been to Australia, Shanghai, Madagascar and now Wyoming to see the moon cross the sun. Their eclipse travels even inspired their career path, the couple owns travel agency in Germany

The Mattenheimers have made friends with several other people who travel to catch a glimpse of the total eclipse.

During the Mattenheiemer's last eclipse trip to Australia, they met a fellow eclipse-chaser from France. When they began talking, they discovered they had been yards away from each other at previous eclipses around the world. The man's car had even been in the background of Mattenheimer's pictures.

The couple and the man stayed in touch and now they are meeting to watch this total solar eclipse together in Cheyenne, Wyoming on Monday.

With 12 eclipses comes experience, and the Mattenheimers have seen both great eclipses and awful ones. They recall the 2001 eclipse they watched in Madagascar as the most beautiful they'd ever seen, while their 2009 eclipse trip to Shanghai was ruined by two storms that completely blocked the sun.

The Mattenheimers know the key to a clear eclipse forecast, however, and they say their sunny superstition has worked for the most part.

"Never wear a shirt for the eclipse that hasn't happened yet," Sabine Mattenheimer said while wearing a 2015 eclipse shirt. "You're always supposed to wear your shirt from the eclipse before. If you wear the shirt for this eclipse before it happens, it'll be cloudy skies."

Eclipse manicures, on the other hand, don't violate these eclipse superstitions. Sabine showed off her a stellar manicure, which donned blue nails with eclipsed suns painted on the top.

The Mattenheimers had one more piece of advice for first time eclipsers.

"Wear your protective eclipse glasses," Werner Mattenheimer said. "But while the eclipse is in totality and the moon completely covers the sun, take them off. If you don't, you'll miss it."

The Mattenheimers say they're looking forward to a clear forecast for their first American eclipse and the opportunity to share it with eclipse lovers just like them.