The EurAstro team (Dr. Matthew Poulton and I, and guests Professor Jay Pasachoff and his student Zophia Edwards) had booked seats in the first class cabin of the Croydon/Qantas dedicated flight to the total solar eclipse of 23–24 November 2003. Dr. Andrew Klekociuk advised us to look for noctilucent clouds and auroral displays. We saw none, but I nevertheless captured interesting refraction and scattering effects. After having seen a sea of clouds for hours, we were eventually treated with some clearings near the eclipse site. The view was breathtaking and everybody rushed to photograph this landscape, unusual to eclipse chasers, as the plane banked and dived while the partial phase of the eclipse was already in progress. Dr. Glenn Schneider helped bring the plane in perfect alignment with the eclipse track. He announced the onset of the Moon’s shadow, the sighting of the solar corona, and the diamond ring. After totality, further sightseeing opportunities were offered to those not already celebrating.
Jean-Luc Dighaye*, Chairman, EurAstro
*Jean-Luc Dighaye has witnessed several total solar eclipses from remote corners of the globe. EurAstro is a nonprofit association for European amateur astronomers based in Munich,Germany. The association was established in 1998 and currently comprises approximately 250 members.