New Delhi: Solar eclipse trackers on the
ground were not the only ones studying the spectacle as the
IAF and astrophysicists conducted experiments and filmed the
celestial event from a fighter jet and a transport aircraft.
A Mirage-2000 fighter jet and an AN-32 medium lift
transport aircraft took to the skies early this morning with a
team of astrophysicists and IAF personnel onboard who carried
out some experiments and filmed the longest total solar
eclipse of the century.
The fighter aircraft took off from the IAF airbase in
Gwalior, while the transport aircraft with scientists from
Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous body of the Department of Science
and Technology flew from Agra towards Khajuraho in Madhya
Scientists from Noida-based Vigyan Prasar, Udaipur-based
Solar Observatory and Bangalore-based Indian Institute of
Astrophysics participated in the experiments and the filming.
As the transport aircraft reached 25,000 feet altitude,
its rear ramp was opened to enable the scientists carry out
their experiments, T K Singha, spokesperson of the Indian Air
Four scientists and a six-member crew from Doordarshan
conducted several experiments, particularly on the Corona
observed during totality and filmed the celestial spectacle.
They had to wear oxygen masks while conducting
experiments as they were flying at high altitude.
"There were lot of doubts yesterday because of the
weather. But today we were very fortunate. The sky was clear
and we would complete our experiments and videography at about
25,000 feet before and after the totality of the eclipse,"
Vinay Kamble, Director, Vigyan Prasar said.
"We are very satisfied. The experiments were very
successful," he said.
Among other senior scientists involved in the experiment
with the IAF include Prof. P Venkatakrishnan, Dr. Shibu
Matthews from Udaipur Solar Observatory; Prof K.E. Rangarajan
and Dr B Ravindra from Indian Institute of Astrophysics,