One globetrotting Missouri couple's total eclipse bliss

Couple's eclipse bliss

"There's just nothing else in the universe like a total solar eclipse," said Sharon Hahs. "During totality, the air gets cool. You have a 360-degree dusk. And then all of the sudden it's over, until the next time. So it's science and magic all turned together."

Millions of people are traveling from all over the U.S. and the world to the path of totality for that perfect view of today's solar eclipse. 

Sharon and Billy Hahs viewing the eclipse in Kiribati, in the Pacific. Family photo

Eclipse enthusiasts Sharon and Billy Hahs have spent 26 years doing just that, from Chile to Ethiopia and Australia.

This year however, the solar eclipse is coming to them.

Sedgewickville, Missouri (population: 197) is about to get an influx of eclipse watchers. Sharon and Billy Hahs are welcoming about 60 friends and family members to the family farm, which falls within the path of totality -- a scientific serendipity for two eclipse aficionados.

The Hahses have been chasing the eclipse phenomenon around the globe since 1991 when they visited Costa Rica.

"In this day and age when everyone's looking down and moving quickly, does an eclipse remind you to slow down?" asked CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz.

"I think it reminds you to appreciate the moment," Billy replied, "where we live in this kind of fantastic improbable set of scientific realities. But it really is a kind of moving experience."

Sharon Hahs' photographs of a total eclipse taken in Kiribati. CBS News

Sharon's reaction? "It was like, 'Okay. Let's go do this again!' But you can't do it right away. You have to wait a year or two and go to a different place."

They have made 14 trips, from Thailand to Easter Island to Mongolia and Libya. They've stayed in tents in the Sahara Desert.

The Hahses have a routine: Sharon takes about 25 photos to capture the full evolution, from the partial eclipse, to the corona, to the diamond ring effect. But after discovering that photographs couldn't fully capture the deep blue sky they observed with their eyes, Billy started painting.

"The thing that changes, of course, from one eclipse to the next is the size and shape of the corona and the exact flavor of blue that you got on that particular eclipse," Billy said.

Their coldest eclipse was north of the Arctic Circle, in Svalbard, Norway two years ago.

"It was eight degrees below zero," Sharon said. "When the eclipse came and the Moon blocked the Sun, it went to 18 degrees below zero."

Billy Hahs' painting of an eclipse viewed in Zambia. CBS News

Billy paints with watercolors, which was a problem then. "When it came time to do the painting, there was no water. Only ice!" So that painting was done indoors.

They document their eclipse encounters with storyboards and memorabilia, like a carpet from their Mongolia trip.

So what is their favorite eclipse?  All of them, they both reply.

"The journey is the actual experience of the eclipse," Sharon said. "And so it's very hard to choose among them."

"You sound like a mother describing her children," Diaz said.

"Actually, that's what I think of."

Billy thinks he might have a favorite come Monday's eclipse: "We didn't get to bring 60 people along on any of these others, and these are 60 people that we treasure and love."

Sixty friends and family will be commemorating the eclipse whose path of totality extends right across the Hahses' Sedgewickville, Mo., farm. CBS News

This year, those loved ones will be joining the Hahses, who have been married for 48-and-a-half years, and they will all be wearing matching commemorative T-shirts.

"My aunt and uncle have been chasing these around the world for years and I've never seen one," said Hannah Lawyer, "so I'm excited to see what the hype is all about!"

And despite their globetrotting, the Hayses are not disappointed that this year's total eclipse will not require any travel for them. 

"No, it's all about family," Sharon said, "and the amazing thing, having gone around the world and having told our families how wonderful this is and showing them pictures, that we will get to show them a real eclipse and we're all coming together."

"So instead of you chasing the eclipse, the eclipse this time is coming to you?" Diaz said.

"It took it a while to get around to it, but it's happening," Billy laughed.

Sharon and Billy have traveled to 14 eclipses but have only seen 11 due to weather blocking their view. If the weather doesn't behave today, they will still enjoy the experience of being together with family.

They also have another thing to celebrate today: Grandma Elouise's 90th birthday.