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.
The weather conditions for this total solar eclipse are somewhat difficult for land-based locations. In the Faroe Islands you’ll likely need to find a location up on the hills and over the low clouds while keeping a good mobility. In Svalbard the weather prospects are slightly better, but the mobility is likely reduced and the temperature are generally constantly below freezing. However, at the North Pole the cloud cover is generally lower at the expense of the temperature that is brutally cold. In the end an eclipse flight over the clouds is likely the most comfortable option; moreover the prevailing winds will very likely push the aircraft, hence increasing a bit more the totality duration.
Sea level pressure in March (courtesy of Jay Anderson)
Satellite image of Svalbard acquired 2012 March 20 (courtesy of Jay Anderson)
View from Longyearbyen taken on 2014 March 20 at 11:15am (about 4 minutes after totality time) in the direction of the Sun
[the Sun is just over the leftside of the hill at the center of the view]
Satellite images of the Faroe Islands acquired on March 20 from 2007 to 2012 (courtesy of Jay Anderson)
Satellite image acquired on 2014 March 20 at 10:00am UTC (about 15 minutes after the intercept time)
GFS model for 2014 March 20 at 9:00am UTC (about 45 minutes before the intercept time)