Solar eclipse chasers: Snapping shots at 44,000 feet

(Credit: Ben Cooper/

The passengers onboard a 12-person Dassault Falcon 900B were traveling at nearly 500 mph, yet they still had only 1 second to witness the totality, or the moment during a total solar eclipse when the moon entirely obscures the sun and ushers in a special kind of darkness across a narrow track 100 miles wide on the Earth’s surface.

It was last Sunday, November 3, and the date marked the first hybrid solar eclipse since 2005. Hybrid solar eclipses are rare and involve a transition from an annular eclipse — where the moon appears slightly smaller than the sun, creating an annulus or “ring of fire” as it’s called — to a total solar eclipse wherein the moon and sun align perfectly and a diamond-colored circle of white light from the star’s corona becomes visible to a small subset of surface dwellers.

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