Total Solar Eclipse of 2015 March 20
in Svalbard, the Faroe Islands or the Arctic
The point of greatest eclipse (totality phase during 2 min 46 sec) was located in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean east of Iceland and northwest of the Faroe Islands. As weather prospects weren’t that great for the few ground-based locations, seeing it from the stratosphere was tantalizing. Svalbard was the second choice as there are quite a few clear days at that time of the year, and the fact is the sky was indeed clear on eclipse day. The Faroe Islands were the third choice as the weather there changes very quickly which is why some saw it and others didn’t. To observe the 2015 March 20 total solar eclipse, I was offering very special eclipse flights at the edge of the stratosphere (see the similar flight executed in November 2013) in partnership with AmJet Executive and Dassault Falcon Service, but also tours in Svalbard (Norway) and at the North Pole. The Faroe Islands were another option but the weather prospects weren’t that great with a strong variability. The expedition to the North Pole for a very limited number of participants is in the planning phase. This last trip will be very expensive, but will provide an unforgettable and rewarding experience during the spring equinox with the black Sun barely over the frozen horizon.
Win one window/seat on a stratospheric Falcon 7X out of Paris-Le Bourget (in french)
<– Two Raffles –>
Win one window/seat on a stratospheric Falcon 7X out of Geneva-Cointrin
Eclipse simulation using Solar Eclipse Maestro
Quite a few eclipse flights will be in the same area for TSE 2015, hence the need to coordinate the flight plans of those aircrafts. The graphic below lets you have an idea of the difficult task a few of us are facing. One can easily identify three main flight levels: 25 to 28,000 feet, 35 to 39,000 feet and over 45,000 feet. Aircrafts will have to be spaced vertically to efficiently share the airspace and ATC coordination will be put in place during the summer of 2014.
One ISS pass occured during the solar eclipse in Portugal, Spain, Algeria and Niger with reasonnably good weather prospects. To view the transit you had to be on the mauve centerline or at very close proximity (less than 10 kilometers). The interactive map of the International Space Station transit could be used to position yourself correctly.
Sample from Fregenal de la Sierra in Spain at 09:05:04.1 UTC (10:05:04.1 local time) during about 1.6 second and visible for about 0.6 second in front of the eclipsed Sun; time will vary depending on location.
And now the results in a video shot by Thierry Legault from Fregenal de la Sierra, Spain.
ISS transit from Fregenal de la Sierra, Spain, at 09:05:04 UTC (10:05:04 local time)
[for the proper orientation the image should be flipped vertically and horizontally]
This visualization shows the Moon’s phase and libration at hourly intervals throughout 2015, as viewed from the northern hemisphere. Please jump the animation to March 20th, shortly before the solar eclipse, by going to the 1 minute 8 seconds timecode. Each frame represents one hour. In addition, this visualization shows the Moon’s orbit position, sub-Earth and subsolar points, distance from the Earth at true scale, and labels of craters near the terminator. To learn more about this visualization, or to see what the Moon will look like at any hour in 2015, visit Dial-A-Moon.
Moon Phases 2015 in the Northern Hemisphere (courtesy of NASA GSFC)