Flight to the Total Solar Eclipse of 20 March 2015

The totally eclipsed sun. At the horizon the eclipse is not total, and therefore it is daylight over there
The little dot right of the middle is planet Mercury.

On 19 March I drove from my hometown Assen in the Netherlands to Dusseldorf Airport, just two and half hours away. The plan was to board the TQ eclipse flight AB1234 on 20 March.

The totality run as planned is shown below. Totality will occur between the points C2 and C3. The shadow of the Moon is moving with a speed of 3200 km/h, while the plane's speed is just over 800 km/h. This means that during the totality run, the plane is overtaken bij the shadow of the Moon.

Totality run as planned.

During the pre-flight briefing on 19 March Glenn Schneider that due to other traffic in the region Air Traffic Control
had imposed some restrictions, which would lead to 3 seconds less totality.


Always nice to meet people that you have met at previous eclipses. On the picture Bob Stephens (left) and me. I had met Bob previously durintg de total solar eclipse of 29 March 2006.

Our Air Berlin Boeing 737-800 at the gate. After fueling is complete, all ready to go.

On the left the passengers are taking their seat. There were only 58 passenger in a plane that had 186 seats. On average this is less than two per row.

Take of was at 7:30 local time (6:30 UTC). This allowed sufficient time (including buffer) to reach the start position of the totality run on time.

A half hour after take off breakfast was served.

At 09:34:30 UTC the captain announced the start of the totality run. The shadow of the Moon approached on top of the clouds below us. At 09:41:37 totality started and lasted for 3m39s. I took some pictures of the total phase with my Leica M8 with a 35mm Summarit F/2.5 lens.

The totally eclipsed Sun with on the left side of the picture planet Venus. Mars is visible on the orginal picture, and is about one thirds between Venus and the Sun. See below.

The litte dot on the right is planet Mercury.

Mars was even less bright than Mercury. On the reversed, and contrast enhance picture below, Mars is shown as a little dot left of the letter M. The 'ear' on the Sun is probably a reflection caused by the window of the plane.

After the totality run was over, it was time to celebrate and enjoy some very nice champagne.

Champagne is served


After returning at Dusseldorf Airport, there was time for group photos. On the left the eclipse flag that has experienced already 32 successful total solar eclipses. On the picture, above the word TOTAL, Glenn Schneider and above the word NORTH Cheryl and Kelly Beatty of TravelQuest.