Saturday, 8 August 2015

TSE 2017 Eclipse Chasing on the ground - it is not about speed

Some people have the idea that eclipse chasing involves movement during the eclipse event.

All the movement takes place before and after the eclipse, getting to the right place to see it.

Only when intercepting the shadow by fast aircraft does one consider the speed of the observer. In 2010 totality was extended to over nine minutes using a passenger jet out of Tahiti. To achieve this duration the jet traveled in the same direction as the shadow (more or less). A passenger jet is capable of achieving sub-sonic speeds while the shadow is moving along three to four times faster.

On the ground, those types of speeds are out of the question. From the Guinness Book of World Records: "The official land-speed record (measured over one mile) is 1,227.985 km/h (763.035 mi/h) (Mach 1.020), set by Andy Green (UK) on 15 October 1997 in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA, in Thrust SSC."

The eclipse path will not be passing over the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.

As an experienced eclipse chaser, I can assure you that eclipse chasing has nothing to do with going fast. It is a matter of being in the right place at the right time. And the right place requires being under clear (or mostly clear) sky.

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