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 Total Solar Eclipse of 1973 June 30
 from the Concorde 001 flight

The Concorde 001, which remained in the umbra of the Moon for nearly 74 minutes during the 1973 June 30 total solar eclipse, was flown by test pilot André Turcat† and equipped with specialized equipment to study the solar corona. To benefit from the extraordinary speed of the Concorde, the French teams lead by Pierre Léna and Serge Koutchmy plus others on board had setup various measuring instruments and cameras to track the shadow of the Moon moving over the Sahara Desert at a speed of Mach 2 (over 2,200 km/h or 1,370 mph) and at an altitude of 17,000 meters (56,000 ft), allowing to multiply by ten the duration of totality. By flying inside the umbral shadow cone of the Moon at the same speed, the Concorde was going to stay in the darkness for nearly 74 minutes, the time for astronomers and physicists on board to do all the experiences they could imagine to complete during this incredible period of black Sun. They were able to achieve in one hour and fifteen minutes what would have taken decades by observing fifteen total solar eclipses from places that would have not necessarily gotten clear skies. The next Concorde eclipse flight occurred in 1999.
For the 40th anniversary of this historic flight, a permanant exhibit will be open to the public starting on 2013 June 30 at the Le Bourget Air and Space Museum near Paris, France. Having been invited for the inauguration on June 29th, a few pictures are now available.

You can use this solar eclipse calculator to compute the local circumstances of the eclipse.


Click on thumbnails for a larger version

This is page "Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73"

Simulation, done with Solar Eclipse Maestro, of Concorde 001 flight during the 1973 June 30 Total Solar Eclipse
[requires an H.264/MPEG-4 decoder: Windows users can install the Windows Essentials Codec Pack]

Postcard Concorde 001 Flight Total Solar Eclipse 30 June 1973
Postcard of Concorde 001 during the 1973 June 30 Total Solar Eclipse


1973 Eclipse Concorde 001 (duration: 5 minutes 44 seconds)
[requires an H.264/MPEG-4 decoder: Windows users can install the Windows Essentials Codec Pack]

Concorde 001 Flight Total Solar Eclipse 30 June 1973 Google Earth
Concorde 001 flight during the 1973 June 30 Total Solar Eclipse in Google Earth

Concorde 001 F-WTSS Las Palmas Canary Islands Takeoff Total Solar Eclipse 30 June 1973
Takeoff of Concorde 001 F-WTSS from Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands, on its way to intercept the 1973 June 30 Total Solar Eclipse path

TSE 1973 Moon Umbral Shadow Velocity UTC Time 57000 Feet Sea Level
Moon’s umbral shadow velocity over the 80 minutes when the Concorde 001 was inside the path of totality

TSE 1973 Moon Umbral Shadow Apex Location Shift 57000 Feet Sea Level
TSE 1973 Moon’s umbral shadow apex location shift depending on the altitude and time (with reference to sea level)

On 2013 June 29th a permanent exhibit on the Concorde 001, which remained in the umbra of the Moon for nearly 74 minutes during the 1973 June 30 total solar eclipse, was inaugurated at the Le Bourget Air and Space Museum, outside of Paris. The following pictures were taken on that day.

Concorde 001 F-WTSS Nose Bourget Air Space Museum Total Solar Eclipse 30 June 1973
Nose of Concorde 001 F-WTSS at the Le Bourget Air and Space Museum, outside of Paris

Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde ‘73 exhibit
acknowledgments




Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Donald Connolly painting
for Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73




Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73 participants
(from left to right: Michel Rétif,
John E. Beckman, Donald Liebenberg,
André Turcat†, Alain Soufflot,
Paul Wraight, Pierre Léna, Donald Hall)

Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Aircrafts for astronomers
and eclipse chasers

Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Total solar eclipses:
beauty and science

Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73:
an astronomer’s dream

Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73:
1973 June 30

Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde and science


Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73:
rendez-vous with the Moon

Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73:
IAP experiment

Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73:
IAP experiment

Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73:
IAP instrument


Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73:
roof opening for the IAP instrument


Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73:
Aberdeen University instrument


Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73:
Paris and Kitt Peak
observatories instrument

Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73:
front inside

Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73:
cockpit

Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73:
front inside

Concorde 001 F-WTSS F-BTSD Sierra Delta Bourget Air Space Museum Total Solar Eclipse 30 June 1973
Concorde 001 F-WTSS and F-BTSD at the Le Bourget Air and Space Museum, outside of Paris
(the F-BTSD, also known as Sierra Delta, holds the world record for flying around the world in both directions, eastbound and westbound)

Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73:
test aircraft


Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73:
underside immatriculation


Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde Sierra Delta:
nose down


Bourget Air Space Museum Concorde 73 Eclipse Exhibit
Concorde Sierra Delta:
holder of the records

Those reading french can also refer to the article written by Pierre Léna and André Turcat† in the monthly issue of l’Astronomie of June 2013. It’s a good opportunity to mention that the first observation of a solar eclipse from an aircraft was done by a frenchman named Michel Mahieu with his own Voisin "military type" during the hybrid of 17 April 1912 to the west of Paris (read the article by Robert Morris in the June 2013 issue of l’Astronomie magazine).

Astronomie Magazine June 2013
L’Astronomie of June 2013:
cover page



Astronomie Magazine June 2013 Voisin Aircraft Mahieu Hybrid Solar Eclipse 1912
L’Astronomie of June 2013:
Birth of astronomy from an aircraft in 1912
(article by Robert Morris)


Astronomie Magazine June 2013 Concorde WTSS-001 Racing Umbra Prey
L’Astronomie of June 2013:
Concorde WTSS-001
"Racing the Umbra for a Prey"
(article by Pierre Léna and André Turcat†)

Concorde 001 F-WTSS André Turcat Xavier Jubier F-BTSD Sierra Delta Bourget Air Space Museum Total Solar Eclipse 30 June 1973
André Turcat†2016, test pilot of Concorde 001, and Xavier Jubier in conversation
(photo by Pierre Léna)

Concorde 001 F-WTSS Donald Liebenberg Xavier Jubier F-BTSD Sierra Delta Bourget Air Space Museum Total Solar Eclipse 30 June 1973
Donald Liebenberg, from the Los Alamos Laboratory, and Xavier Jubier
(photo by Jean Mouette/IAP-CNRS-UPMC)


Excerpt from the Alan Sidi "A Line to the Sun" film about the eclipse cruise of the MV Monte Umbe off the coast of west Africa: part speaking about the Concorde 001 at the Santa Cruz de La Palma airport

Pierre Léna Book Umbra Moon Concorde 001 F-WTSS Total Solar Eclipse 30 June 1973
Pierre Léna with his lastest book on the Concorde 001 during the Paris Book Fair 2014
(book reference: Concorde 001 et l’ombre de la Lune)

On 2015 March 20, for the 2015 total solar eclipse, I did have the pleasure to organize multiple stratospheric eclipse flights at 49,000 feet (14,935 meters). These new flights, after the record setter one in November 2013 out of Bermuda that intercepted the lunar umbral shadow racing at 8,400 mph (13,500 kph), did also go into the record books as the second highest in history after the ones of the Concorde in 1973 and 1999.

This is page "Concorde 001 Eclipse ‘73"

Last page update on June 30, 2013.
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