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Volunteers build flying telescope in New Brunswick to capture total eclipse above clouds

The upcoming total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, is an anticipated event around the world. A group of volunteer residents of New Brunswick are preparing a special flying telescope to view the total eclipse from above the clouds. Led by David Hunter, a retired medical physicist from western New Brunswick, a group of volunteers have created a telescope that will fly above the clouds to provide unobstructed views of the eclipse.

Frustrated by past experiences of eclipses masked by clouds, the group embarked on an ambitious project to build a flying sun-tracking telescope. A weather balloon will lift this innovative telescope up to thirty kilometres high, far above any clouds, to guarantee a clear view of the solar eclipse. Hunter’s team tackled many technical issues, like creating a way to keep the telescope stable despite the balloon’s erratic movements.

“The primary goal is to get over any existing cloud cover,” explains Hunter, emphasizing the importance of unobstructed visibility during the eclipse. The flying telescope is equipped with sophisticated tracking devices and multiple cameras to transmit a live video feed to ground stations, allowing spectators across western New Brunswick to witness the eclipse in real-time.

  • Eclipse Start: 3:22 PM
  • Eclipse Maximum (Totality): 4:33 PM
  • Average Totality: 3 minutes 20 seconds (+/- 5 seconds depending on location)
  • Eclipse End: 5:41 PM
  • Total Eclipse Duration: 2 hours 18 minutes
  • *Times may vary by 2-3 minutes based on location.

 The moon’s shadow will pass over Florenceville-Bristol at 4:32 p.m. ADT, plunging the area into darkness for more than three minutes. During that time, the flying telescope will capture rare glimpses of the sun’s corona and the ethereal twilight ambiance.

This initiative has garnered widespread interest, with volunteers and enthusiasts eagerly waiting for the chance to witness clear views of the solar eclipse. Hunter and his team are optimistic about the project’s success as they have conducted multiple successful test flights and have planned each detail of the project to maximize its success. Total solar eclipses are captivating, and Hunter’s endeavour exemplifies the spirit of scientific curiosity and community collaboration, offering a rare opportunity for residents to experience the wonders of the universe firsthand. For those interested in joining the viewing event or accessing live streams of the eclipse, further information can be found on David Hunter’s website

Source: Thompson Citizen – Nickel Belt News