NASA modifies Gulfstream III to provide live eclipse coverage
NASA has modified one of its Gulfstream III business jets to be able to provide live video coverage of yesterday’s total solar eclipse.
The eclipse was visible for an hour and a half over a 70-mile-wide band of the US on 21 August 2017. It is the first time that a total eclipse has been seen in the US since 1979.
NASA Armstrong Research Center’s 1984-build Gulfstream III MSN 424/N808NA modifications include changing the usual passenger windows to optical-grade windows that on-board photographers could shoot pictures and film video through.
NASA also fitted a high-speed telemetry system to the aircraft. This transmits a video feed of the eclipse from the aircraft down to a truck that NASA strategically located, which then feeds into the NASA website.
The Gulfstream III took off from Seattle and flew a holding pattern around Lincoln City, Oregon, a location carefully chosen to maximise the amount of time that the eclipse was visible.
Although the eclipse started at 09:04 local time, the total eclipse began at 10:16 and lasted for less than two minutes.
NASA uploaded a short video on the Gulfstream modification. You can view it below.