Longtail Aviation chases solar eclipse in a Falcon 900

November 3, 2013

43,000 feet over the Atlantic, and 600 miles off Bermuda Longtail Aviation made history. For the first time ever, an aircraft was used to intercept an extremely short eclipse, at a 90 degree angle, capturing the ‘diamond ring effect’, created as the moon appears to cover the sun.

“Departing Bermuda this morning at 0530, we flew south to a point about 630 km south southeast of Bermuda. Flying at a 90 degree angle to the path of the moon's shadow, we intercepted the umbra, which was traveling at approximately 14,000 km/hour. Our groundspeed was approximately 420 knots. We were able to view the total eclipse from 43,000 feet for a period of about 2 seconds. No aircraft has ever before intercepted the path of a total eclipse at a right angle. Doing so enabled the twelve photographers on board to photograph the eclipse from the side windows. Congratulations to Xavier Jubier, the French amateur astronomer who developed the program which predicted the precise spot in space we had to reach in order to view the totality. The margin for error was approximately 6 seconds. Congratulations also to Dirk Ewers, who organized the event.”

Martin Amick (Longtail Aviation, Captian of the flight and CEO)

Ben Cooper, former NASA photographer, — said "that prior to this flight, in 1986, eclipse veteran Glenn Schneider was able to intercept a ‘perfect’ zero-second eclipse over the north Atlantic, and that a similar intercept for a 1.4 second eclipse was attempted in 1930 without success"