Night in Day

Electrical engineer in Oregon builds eclipse-catered house

August 21st is a big day…with a little bit of night. The most complete solar eclipse in recent memory will glaze its way right across the United States like an award-winner’s ribbon, carving an almost perfect diagonal pathway from Oregon to South Carolina. One electrical engineer in that first state is preparing with precision.

Jon Brewster and his wife, of Monmouth, Oregon, built their house back in 2001 with the eclipse in mind. Long-term preparation, indeed.

The property is specifically oriented in line with the eclipse, and even included a high-tech, 7-foot, domed telescope in the original plans, as reported by NBC King 5 of Western Washington. Monmouth is 63 miles south of Portland, one of the first locations on the mainland U.S. lying in the path of totality.

Brewster told King 5 that Mistletoe Observatory, as he’s named it, was conceived not solely for the eclipse, but out of a more general joy for astronomy. He says he and his wife have scouted for planets, stars, supernovas, and more using their observatory equipment over the years.

Brewster, an electrical engineer with Hewlett-Packard, wrote computer software to operate the fully automated observatory, which is set to photograph the eclipse. He programmed its dome control software and attached it to scope software…years worth of work for two minutes of eclipse. He acknowledged in interviews that his enthusiasm and commitment may be unusual. It doesn’t dampen his excitement. He plans to have a viewing party with around 100 guests on the preceding ‘eclipse weekend’, he told King 5.

“I don’t want to miss the eclipse myself, I want to watch it,” Brewster told King 5. “Just let the equipment do what it does.”

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