Scientist will observe Saturday's (20 July) solar eclipse from the cabin of a high-flying jet airliner.
Scientist will observe Saturday's (20 July) solar eclipse from the cabin of a high-flying jet airliner.A Douglas DC-8, belonging to Delta Airlines, has been converted into a laboratory.Seats on the right side of the aircraft have been removed, and a special floor installed, which holds spectroscopes, cameras and telescope.Thirty scientists will use these instruments to observe the eclipse while flying at 42,000 feet over northern Canada.
The aircraft will fly along the path the moon's shadow casts on the ground.Over northern Canada's Great Slave Lake area, the racing shadow will catch up to the plane, which will then fly in that shadow.
The period of totality -- when the sun is completely obscured by the moon -- will last 100 seconds for an observer on the ground.The scientists in the aircraft, however, will experience totality for 144 seconds as they pursue the shadow of the moon acrose Canada.In addition, the 42,000 foot altitude of the flight will allow the observation to be carried out above much of the earth's atmosphere.
The expedition is sponsored by the National Geographic Society, Douglas Aircraft Corporation, and eleven other organization.