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Old 01-12-2012, 01:09 AM
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OzEclipse (Joe Cali)
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Announce : footage release of our stratospheric balloon eclipse flight


This is to announce that the joint Romanian-Australian team have released the footage of our stratospheric balloon eclipse flight, Eclipser 1 which successfully captured footage of the eclipse from 25000m(82000ft) altitude. After the eclipse, it continued to rise to a maximum altitude of 36800m(121000ft) which we believe is the third highest flight recorded in Australian airspace.

I recommend you set quality to HD1080 and watch on a big screen but take a travel calm pill first. It's very blair witch - quite the wild ride.

You can see the Moon's umbra approach from the west before the eclipse starts. The umbra is clearly visible out to sea for some time after the end of totality. The balloon continues its ascent to 36800m then bursts. At burst altitude the temperature is about -80C and pressure <1% of sea level so when the latex balloon bursts, shards of brittle rubber go flying in all directions with almost no air to slow them down.

You see the capsule tumbling as it free-falls for 19000m. Then at 18000m altitude a parachute deploys and it comes back to earth. Of course, the chute got snagged 20m up in a tree posing one final hurdle for the recovery team.


Here is the link to the balloons APRS tracking. This was broadcast live during the flight and used by Air Services Australia to track the position in addition to the periodic call ins at each 10000 foot level.


The team responsible for the project included : -

Catalin Beldea, the developer, astronomer Science & Technology, Romanian eclipse chaser
Florin Mingireanu, ROSA researcher and engineer in aerospace technology, Romanian Space Agency (ROSA)- Public organization by Romanian Govt. Decision 923/1995;www.rosa.ro
Marc Ulieriu, editor Science & Technology
Adrian Florescu, president amateur radio club YO3KSR
Joe Cali, legal compliance, protocols, approvals and Liaison with CASA and Air Services Australia Air Traffic Control in Cairns and Brisbane. Logistics support.
Howard Small, specialist tracking radio, amateur radio club president in Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Samantha Scafe, radio tracking specialist

The Eclipser1 project was conducted by the Romanian Space Agency ROSA, YO3KSR amateur club and one in Cairns and supported by Duracell.

We would also like to gratefully acknowledge Professor Michael Bird and his staff at James Cook University, Cairns for assistance provided to us during the lead up to launch.

Joe Cali
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:47 AM
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MrB (Simon)
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Very cool, thanks for sharing.
Would be cool to see a small OSD of the altitude in one corner
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:37 AM
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iceman (Mike)
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Amazing, great footage! Just take some motion sick tablets before watching
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:15 AM
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Wow – that was quite extraordinary, what an ambitious project and what astonishing results. Congratulations on this amazing achievement.


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Old 01-12-2012, 06:27 AM
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multiweb (Marc)
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Terrific. A new perspective on an awesome event. Clouds didn't bother you at all Great planning and execution. I can only imagine how much work went into getting everything just right for the day.
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:30 AM
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Absolutely amazing!
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:32 PM
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almost needed a bucket ! but that was truely different and amazing to see - let alone the planning and execution. congratulations on a job well done
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:02 PM
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Great footage indeed! That really shows the extent of the shadow. Congratulations to all involved!

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Old 05-12-2012, 10:08 AM
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Excellent. What most intrigued me was seeing the moons shadow coming from the west towards the coast. Then once the eclipse was over the shadow could still be seen just to the lower right of the sun. Fantastic view.
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:41 PM
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Hi all,

Thanks for all the kind comments.

For anyone having trouble working out why, the reason the shadow is visible for so long after the eclipse is finished is because from 25km altitude the geometric horizon is approximately 600km in both directions. The shadow's ground speed is traveling approximately 12000km/hr when the shadow is under the capsule but much faster on approach and slowing rapidly as it recedes out to sea so that it approaches very quickly, the capsule fortuitously pans with the shadow as it crosses Cape York, but is visible much longer as it heads out to sea because at the slower speed, it takes much longer to cover the 600km horizon distance. As the projection angle increases, the front edge of the umbra slows down before the trailing edge of the shadow does causing the shadow to lose its eccentricity. That's why the shadow appears to slow right down post eclipse.

We are all really stoked with the footage. Unfortunately, even the HD version on YouTube still has compression artifacts - a necessary evil.

I was talking to Catalin Beldea, the project leader on the phone in Romania last weekend. He had just sent me 4GB of uncompressed raw footage to watch on my big screen TV. Everybody involved in the project is still enjoying watching the footage and the raw footage on a big screen is even better - but also more stomach churning.

I've been busy grabbing raw HD frames from the footage but I won't release them for some time. Catalin has just filed a story for Stiinta si Technica, (Science and Technology) the Romanian Magazine who part funded the project and held first rights. It's coming out in the December issue. Catalin works as a contributing astronomy journalist/editor for them. He and I are also planning to coauthor a story in a major English language astronomical publication before we start publishing on web.

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Old 06-12-2012, 05:26 PM
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trek1701 (Mark)
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Thanks for sharing this amazing footage of the eclipse seen from a totally different vantage point.
To coordinate this must have been a huge challenge.
It was nice to catch up at our eclipse site on the Mulligan Hwy.

Those memories will stay with me forever.

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Old 06-12-2012, 09:41 PM
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OzEclipse (Joe Cali)
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Nice to meet you too. It was a true team effort. Every member of the team had a different and critical role to play and everybody did their own job. Mine was to do the approvals with CASA and Air Traffic Control and acquire helium. I would have liked to go to the launch but my critical role was over, and as you know, I had another role to play nearer the coast.

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Old 07-12-2012, 03:32 PM
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Great footage! Thanks for sharing
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Old 07-12-2012, 05:57 PM
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Fantastic footage, Joe. Congrats to all involved. Where did they end up launching from?
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Old 08-12-2012, 05:13 PM
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OzEclipse (Joe Cali)
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Launch Location

Hi Colin,

It was launched from Kimba. About 120km WNW of your location at Adams reservoir.

It's listed in the video

approx coords S1536' E 14328'

It's pretty much exactly halfway along the eclipse track on Cape York. The location was carefully chosen using wind models to predict the landing area so that it would land in country that was accessible for the recovery not because it was halfway- that was just a coincidence.


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