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Was Johnny Carson an Eclipse Chaser?

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#1 Exeligmos

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 10:37 PM

I've heard that Johnny Carson was an amateur astronomer. He has posed for photos with some of his toys:

 

Attached File  41p3QkhqUXL._SS500_.jpg   35.19KB   3 downloads

 

Attached File  image559955.jpg   42.84KB   3 downloads

 

Not to mention that Carl Sagan was a frequent guest on his show.

 

On a whim, I checked a list of Tonight Show episode list on Wikipedia to see if he was absent during the 1979 eclipse. Sure enough, he was. I then checked out the other eclipse dates, he was absent on as many as 20 out of 23 eclipse days. At times, the day would fall on a weekend, and he'd be absent on a Monday or Friday. Other times, he'd be gone for a few weeks. Early on, the eclipse would fall on a weekend, but there was no guest host.

 

The number of times he took off seems to be more than coincidence. If he was a chaser, it would be interesting to read about his adventures.

 

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FWIW, here is the full list of total eclipses (and 1984 annular) during the duration of his Tonight Show tenure:

 

1963 - Canada, Maine, Saturday
1965 - Pacific, Sunday, guest host Monday
1966 - South America, Saturday
1967 - Antarctic Atlantic, Thursday, guest host 3 weeks
1968 - USSR, Sunday, guest host Monday
1970 - Mexico-USA, Saturday, guest host Friday
1972 - Canada, Monday, guest host 1 week
1973 - Africa, Saturday, guest host 2 weeks
1974 - South of Australia, Thursday, guest host 2 weeks
1976 - Africa-Australia, Saturday, guest hosts 2 weeks
1977 - Pacific-South America, Wednesday, (Johnny present on show)
1979 - USA-Canada, Monday, guest host Monday
1980 - Africa, Saturday, guest host Monday
1981 - USSR, Friday, (Johnny present on show)
1983 - Indonesia, Saturday, (no guest host b/a)
1984 - Mexico-USA (annular), Wednesday, guest host 1 week
1984 - Pacific, mid-week, (Johnny present on show)
1985 - Antarctic Pacific, early-week, guest host 1 day
1986 - North Atlantic (brief hybrid/annular), late-week, guest host 1 day
1987 - Atlantic (brief hybrid), weekend?, no show scheduled?
1988 - (incomplete schedule)
1990 - Siberia, weekend?, guest host 1 day
1991 - Mexico, late-week, guest host 1 month

 

(Shown are the year, location, date of eclipse, and duration of guest hosts around that date.)


Edited by Exeligmos, 13 October 2017 - 10:48 PM.

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#2 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 05:22 PM

Great sleuthing!


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#3 kfiscus

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 04:30 PM

I've been hoping this interesting thread would keep going.  Johnny must have traveled in secrecy/privacy. 



#4 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 29 October 2017 - 12:19 AM

I have tried off and on for years to find out more about his astronomy adventures and equipment.

 

Turns out he was a very, very private person.

 

Not to mention that people under 50 might not even know who he is.


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