As solar eclipse approaches, WKTV talks to local expert on tips to experience it

By Joanne Baiely-Boorsma


For the first time in 40 years, the North American continent will experience a total solar eclipse, where the moon is between the sun and earth casting its shadow on the earth.


And depending where you are on Aug. 21 will determine how much of the solar eclipse you will see, according to David DeBryun, the president of the Grand Rapids Amateur Astrological Association.


“Bad news is we are not going to see a total eclipse in Grand Rapids,” DeBryun said during a special interview with WKTV’s Bre Wilson. During that interview, DeBryun said that the Grand Rapids area will experience about an 85 percent of the eclipse.


Bre Wilson with David DeBryun

He also noted that the Grand Rapids Public Museum, 272 Pearl St. SW, will be hosting a special Eclipse Day Party on Aug. 21 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The event will include hands-on solar related activity booths, multiple shows on the half hour of “Eclipses and Phases of the Moon” in the Chaffee Planetarium, and a live stream of the total eclipse will be shown int he Meijer Theater. All Eclipse Party activities will be included with general admission to the Museum. For more, visit


While several members of the GRAAA will be on hand at the Eclipse Day Party, DeBryun will not be one of them. He plans to be part of a group heading to Nebraska to see the eclipse. In fact, he has travelled the world to experience solar eclipses, which are a rare occurrence. The next total solar eclipse is July 2, 2019 and will across southern Africa.


DeBryun’s first solar eclipse was in 1963, when he was a young boy. “Boy do I remember that because that was the most dramatic thing I had seen in nature at that point,” he said. “It was just overwhelming. And it was the impetus for me to travel the far corners of the earth in the time since then to witness five of these total eclipses of the sun.”


With the total solar eclipse happening only about 70 miles away from the Grand Rapids area and going through such major cities as St. Louis and Nashville, DeBryun encourages residents to make the trip to experience the phenomenon especially since the next time a total solar eclipse will travel across West Michigan will be in the year 2099.


“I know I won’t make that,” he said with a a laugh.


If you plan to check out the solar eclipse, DeBryun encourages people to use the safe viewing glasses available at the Public Museum or to make an eclipse box. For other tips and more discussion about the solar eclipse, check out the interview with DeBryun airing on WKTV channel 25 at 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Aug. 14; 7 and 11 p.m. Aug. 15; 11:30 a.m. Aug. 16; and noon and 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18.