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The view: Total solar eclipse over La Serena, Chile, on July 2, 2019.
The airplane: Cessna R182, CC-PEJ
The pilot: Diego Errazuriz
The mission: To experience a total solar eclipse from the air, and hopefully take a beautiful picture under very challenging photographic conditions.
The memory: It was much more spectacular than expected, there was a massive collection of all types of aircraft from around the world, ranging from ultralights to Boeings. La Serena ATC had to really work hard for about half an hour. There were more than 100 planes in a relatively small area and they had to be organized in a safe way while they waited for totality – which only lasted for about 3 minutes. A few seconds before the total eclipse, it was possible to see the shadow of the moon over the Pacific Ocean surface, moving towards us at 6,000 mph!
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- Friday Photo: solar eclipse over Chile - July 19, 2019
I witnessed our 2017 total eclipse from the ground in Eastern TN (right on the centerline of totality). What appeared to be a Cessna flew through the disc of the sun during totality. It must have been an incredible view.
It looks like Diego took his shot just as totality was coming to an end (you can see the moon shadow in the Pacific nearing the coastline). The shadow typically traverses the surface of the earth at over 1000 mph, so Diego probably didn’t have much more time before totality ended.