Presented by Glenn Schneider at the
 4th International Solar Eclipse Conference
New Delhi, India  15 December 2011


Click HERE to view/download the conference talk presentation material; ; ©2011 Glenn Schneider
(originally PowerPoint, converted to QuickTime movie format at lower resolution; 192 Mb)

Click HERE to view/download a video of the conference talk.

ABSTRACT:  Are “we” (eclipse chasers) a cult, or a culture? “Eclipse chasing” is a rare synthesis in human endeavor of art, science, logistics, and addiction. In the course of two generations recently explosively episodic advances in diverse technologies following “Moore's Law” have enabled the transformation of eclipse chasing from a pursuit of the very few into a globally egalitarian activity. The “TSE experience” is simultaneously intellectually stimulating, scientifically illuminating, and spiritually uplifting, that (almost paradoxically) has unique perceptual aspects that are symbiotically transculturally universal and deeply individually personal. After more than four decades since his first (and twenty-eight subsequent instances) of umbral immersion, one umbraphile peers back through 1.5 hours plus of “shadow time” and reflects on the confluences of technological and societal advancements (and regressions) that have contributed to and cultivated the evolution of contemporary eclipse chasing and eclipse chasers.


Click HERE to view/download the conference poster 12 MB PDF file; ©2011 Glenn Schneider)

ABSTRACT: Hitting a moving target (the moon's shadow) from a moving platform (a high speed aircraft) is intrinsically not too complex a problem, though it certainly is non-trivial.  To do so, successfully, while optimizing an aircraft flight intercept to strike a desired balance between duration, observability (e.g., line-of-site restrictions due to aircraft windows), cost, and other constraints, must be approached with both care and rigor.  By 1992, the availability and capabilities of portable (aka "laptop") computers had so rapidly evolved, that eclipse flight optimization and *re*-planning in reaction to in situ conditions became possible.  As a result, the first version of EFLIGHT, an integrated eclipse flight planning and navigation S/W package, was engineered for the then fledgling Macintosh PowerBook 100 series laptop computers, and then successfully used to navigate a DC-10 precisely through the path of the 30 June 1992 eclipse. Since then, EFLIGHT has evolved into a fully integrated airborne eclipse observation planning and navigation tool. Many of its current capabilities are illustrated here.  Got an airplane?


Click HERE to view/download the full size photographic presentation 29 MB PDF file; ©2011 Glenn Schneider)

PRESENTER BIOGRAPHY: Dr. Glenn Schneider is an Astronomer at University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory where, since 1994, he has served as the Project Instrument Scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope’s Near Infra-red Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer, and currently is the Principal Investigator for EXCEDE (the EXoplanetary Circumstellar Environments and Disk Explorer) that is now undergoing technology maturation for a future NASA space mission. His research and instrumental interests are primarily centered on the formation, evolution, and characterization of extrasolar planetary systems, and high contrast space-based (coronagraphic) imaging systems. His studies have focused on the direct detection of substellar and planetary mass companions to young and near-by stars and the circumstellar environments from which such systems may arise and interact. In concert with his scientific investigations of circumstellar dust and debris disks and co-orbital bodies they may harbor, he has played a leading role in the development of very high contrast space-based coronagraphic and near-infrared imaging systems and techniques with HST, leading to spatially resolved scattered light images the birthplaces of planetary systems. Dr. Schneider is a member of the International Astronomical Union’s Working Group on Solar Eclipses with expertise in the high-precision numerical calculation of eclipse circumstances and the application of those computations in planning and carrying out observations of total solar eclipses. For more than three decades, Dr. Schneider has lead expeditionary groups and conducted such observations on land, sea and air of twenty-nine total solar eclipses occurring since 7 March 1970 from remote locations across the globe conducting direct, polarimetric, and spectrophotometric imaging programs. Additionally, he has executed five, and planned nine, high-altitude eclipse intercepts with jet aircraft and is now preparing for his next stratospheric eclipse flight, for TSE 2015, at 63° North latitude east of Iceland. Additional information on his background and research interests may be found at:

Images, graphics and information contained within in the above linked presentation files may be preproduced for non-profit educatioan and public outreach purposes.  Please contact Glenn Schneider ( for other permissions and additional information.

Click HERE to view photographs from the SEC2011 conference hosted by SPACE.

Click HERE to view the conference schedule