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Was Johnny Carson an Eclipse Chaser?

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#1 Exeligmos


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Posted 18 April 2024 - 03:03 AM

(This was originally posted in the 'North American Total Solar Eclipse 2017' forum...)




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






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.




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.)

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#2 bladerunner6


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Posted 27 April 2024 - 10:29 PM

I would be shocked if he didn’t see at least some of those eclipses.  His interest in astronomy is pretty well documented.  

He also had John Dobson on the show.

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