Video & Photos: Private Jet Travel For Eclipse

November 3, 2013

While numerous people around the world watched this morning’s [Nov 3] solar eclipse from land, a group of dedicated eclipse chasers chartered a private jet to get the best possible view off the coast of Bermuda.

The group flew in to Bermuda in advance, and then left the island onboard a 12-person Falcon 900B private jet early this morning to watch the eclipse from 43,000 feet over the Atlantic, and 600 miles off Bermuda.

The flight allowed the group to be in the exact position to enable them to catch a spectacular view of what is called the ‘diamond ring effect’, created as the moon appears to cover the sun.

The group standing outside the plane this morning:

Bermuda Solar Eclipse Flight, November 3 2013-3

According to a website where the photos were posted, “For the first time ever, an aircraft was used to intercept an extremely short eclipse, doing so in a perpendicular crossing of the eclipse path.

“There was zero margin for error, with the plane required to hit a geographic point over the ocean at a precise second. It is also just the second time a flight to intercept any very short eclipse [just seven seconds in our case] was accomplished successfully.”

Inside of the private jet they chartered:

Bermuda Solar Eclipse Flight, November 3 2013-7

The website — operated by former NASA photographer Ben Cooper — 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.

“But for our flight, where the sun would have been in front of the plane and not to the side had we followed the path, we had to cross the path at close to a 90-degree angle at the moment the shadow passed by. There was risk for our flight in being a hair off in timing and missing totality, but we did it!” said Mr Cooper.

A view of the eclipse off Bermuda at approximately 7.30am this morning:

Bermuda Solar Eclipse, November 3 2013-2

The trip was organised by a group of people including Xavier Jubier, who has been chasing eclipses since 1991. Mr Jubier — who is well known within the field for his work with charting eclipses — told Bernews they started planning the trip approximately three months ago.

The eclipse chasers, which included Americans, Canadians and Europeans, were joined by a two person crew from a German television station, and a report on their journey is set to air tonight on German TV.

Interview with Mr Jubier onboard the private jet:

The plane they chartered was operated by Bermuda-based Longtail Aviation, and was crewed by CEO and pilot Martin Amick, co-pilot Hans Randriamanatena along with Technical Director Art Garcia.

This eclipse was a rare hybrid eclipse, in which some parts of the Earth saw the moon partially block out the sun, while other parts witnessed the moon completely cover the sun, resulting in a total eclipse.

Eddie McGonagle of the Astronomical Society of Bermuda met with the visiting eclipse chasers, and said they believed more than 100 visitors came to Bermuda to watch the eclipse, as the island offered a view of about 85% cover, which is greater than could have been observed over most the U.S.

View our eclipse photos here, photos taken from the plane here & click to enlarge the photos below:

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Category: Airport/Planes, All, News, Photos, Videos

Comments (10)

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  1. Micro says:

    Wonder how many more we could’ve attracted if we actually advertised Bermuda as being a premier location to view the eclipse and made an event out of it…

  2. Viccy loves to be Naughty says:

    OUTf*****STANDING!…Great shot Bernews!

  3. Amazing says:

    Bermuda really missed an opportunity to promote this event for a bumper weekend of visitors…but with Rugby about to start, maybe there wasn’t any extra rooms for the extra tourist…if there was access rooms available we need creative minds to suggest these kinds of activities that occur once in a while to help boost hotel tourism.

  4. Extremely impressive…Bermuda is, “truly another world” :-)

  5. Shawn S says:

    Must be nice to have that type of money.

    • RME says:

      Seriously. Notice it was Americans, Canadians and Europeans.
      Recession’s not affecting anyone in that plane.

  6. Eclipse says:

    Some information about the eclipse flight and how it was executed:
    http://xjubier.free.fr/en/site_pages/solar_eclipses/HSE_20131103_pg02_EFlight.html

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