McMaster grad travels from Vienna to share in total solar eclipse experience

Two people wearing McMaster-branded solar eclipse glasses looking up to the sky

1981 graduate Louis Bruser, along with his sister Harriet, got to campus in plenty of time to explore McMaster and try on their eclipse glasses before joining the total solar eclipse viewing party at Ron Joyce Stadium. (Photo by Georgia Kirkos/McMaster University).

Louis Bruser knew that a total solar eclipse was worth travelling halfway around the world for.  

The McMaster graduate flew from his home in Vienna, Austria to be one of the thousands in the stands at the eclipse viewing party at the Ron Joyce Stadium on Monday.  

Witnessing a total solar eclipse has been called a once-in-a-lifetime event. Bruser’s now lucky enough to have seen two.  

His first total solar eclipse was in Austria in 1999. He witnessed it with his two daughters and his mother, who flew in from Canada to join them.  

“It’s pretty indescribable,” said Bruser, who called it an emotional event. “At the time it’s an absolute spontaneous feeling of, ‘Wow, this is just great.’” 

A grid of three separate photos showing two children and a woman wearing solar eclipse glasses
Bruser, along with his mother and daughters, witnessed a total solar eclipse from the town of Mondsee, Austria in 1999. (Images courtesy Louis Bruser).

So, when Bruser, who recently retired, realized he had the opportunity to witness another total solar eclipse while visiting family in Canada, he took it. He flew to Toronto, and along with his sister Harriet, took the GO train to Hamilton to join the crowds at his alma mater.  

“Now this time I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be a blast to be surrounded by like-minded people?’” said Bruser. 

Two people with solar eclipse glasses looking up to the sky. They are seated amongst a crowd inside a stadium.
Bruser and his sister Harriet look to the skies from McMaster’s Ron Joyce Stadium during the total solar eclipse (Photo by Georgia Kirkos/McMaster University).

Bruser says looking up to the skies alongside thousands of other eager community members from McMaster’s campus was an emotional experience.

He says he was also struck by the interest shown from younger volunteers and participants, eager to learn the science behind the celestial event. 

The DeGroote School of Business graduate, who completed his undergraduate in 1981, said he was also happy to revisit campus and see what had changed from when he last visited about 20 years ago. 

“I’ve studied at a few universities since McMaster, and it really is the nicest campus,” said Bruser. 

He’s already making plans to witness another total solar eclipse.  

Bruser, along with his daughter who lives in Barcelona and some other family members, plan to be looking up to the skies from northern Spain when the Moon passes precisely in front of the Sun in August 2026.  

Learn more about how McMaster and the Department of Physics & Astronomy marked the total solar eclipse here.

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