Flight into Darkness

Total Solar Eclipse 20 Mar 2015 #5 - 3rd Contact

Total Solar Eclipse 20 Mar 2015 #5 – 3rd Contact

More than two years after our last one, we took the plunge and off into the darkness. Literally.

What I’m writing about is the total solar eclipse of 20 March 2015 over the Northern Atlantic Ocean, of course. A place and time where weather prospect weren’t exactly stellar or solar, thus quite early, already in 2013, we booked Eclipse Reisen’s e-flight (operated by Air Berlin, AB 1000) from Düsseldorf.

Into the car, onto the plane, into the darkness, back into the light and the Düsseldorfian fog, and home-bound again. 12 hours round-trip, certainly a very “efficient” eclipse trip. ;-)

The experience in the air was quite different from our previous ground-based eclipse excursions. A lot of the anxiety and anticipation – will we really see totality? – is missing, as success is almost guaranteed. And when the plane finally navigates into the “eclipse run”, the partial phase is mostly completed, we didn’t get to see C1 or C4.

But absolutely priceless is the view of the moon’s umbra moving across the clouds below, seemingly slowly catching up with the air plane, then plunging us into darkness, and finally off it goes, moving away from of us. Thus I’m very happy that I was able to catch this on video.

35,000 ft above the Northern Atlantic / Norwegian Sea with mid totality at 63°31’21.3″N 7°53’05.6″W / UTC 09:43:30. From the telephoto shots I did, the contact times and positions were as follows:

  • C2 at UTC 09:41:35 / 63°20’18” N 8°13’23” W
  • C3 at UTC 09:45:15 / 63°40’53” N 7°35’37” W

for a totality duration of 3min 40s.

Impressive, as it always has been and will be. Where’s the next one? …

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