Sunday, 26 March 2017

TSE 2017 from balloons, drones, and rockets

People are proposing some pretty absurd ideas about this upcoming eclipse. Some want to photograph the ground from up in the air with their drones or from balloons or rockets. I want to take a stand against these notions. What follows are my reasons.

1) You should really watch the solar eclipse, not worry about some aerial contraption.
2) It is not nice to block the view of someone else watching the eclipse.
3) There is a possibility of something going wrong.
4) There is even the possibility of something going horribly wrong.
5) The solar eclipse is pretty cool, watch it!

Drones Last View during a Solar Eclipse - Bill Kramer

A kick start type of project was started not long ago for balloon observations of the ground during the eclipse. This has been done before for scientific purposes. See my list of solar eclipse observations from the air. It was also done in 2006 for tourists in Turkey using hot air balloons.

Several people have expressed interest in flying drones during the eclipse. This is a really bad idea. The eclipse is cool, the eclipse happens, you will suffer some sort of issue no matter how practiced you are. Set the drone down and watch the eclipse instead.

Eclipse drone attacks! - Bill Kramer

Another project is to fly a weather balloon near the eclipse path photographing the ground. The idea is to try to detect the "edge" of the shadow. This has some value to cartographers trying to model the same. You see, there is a MAJOR difference between being inside the path of totality and being outside. In addition, eclipse observations at this dividing line are assisting in refinements to the visual solar diameter.

And then there are rocket opportunists wanting to launch during totality and take images. I am very concerned about this sort of activity except by professionals who know what they are doing. Rocket trails into the sky could obscure some observers and that makes me even more concerned. So my advice when asked is not to do anything like that. Would you shoot a rocket up during a sporting match while your favorite team is scoring the winning points? (If you answer yes to that, please leave me a comment letting us know where you will be so we can be far away!)

1 comment:

  1. I agree. What's the point of getting a few hundred feet higher? The only photography I'm taking is a wide angle GoPro time-lapse of my local surroundings as I and my family watch it directly.