The TSE 2015 MAX Sky at Mid-Totality

The view of the TSE 2015 sky at mid-totality as seen through one of our EFLIGHT 2015 aircraft windows from 11.3 km above the surface of the Earth is depicted in the illustration below.  From this height above mean sea level, the apparent horizon (i.e., the Earth's limb) is depressed 3.4° with respect to the astronomical horizon.  Looking straight out sun-side aircraft windows to the south-east at an azimuth of 133° from true north, the totally eclipsed Sun will stand 22.2° above the apparent horizon (and 18.8°) above the astronomical horizon.  The latter is the true "look up" angle through the window with the aircraft in straight-and-level flight. 

At mid-totality (09:43:30 UTC), looking toward the 377 km distant horizon, the outline curve of the southern part of the Moon's shadow (red line), seen as a semi-ellipse in perspective projection on the Norwegian Sea, will be visible with its apex appearing below the Sun.  The apparent motion of the Moon's umbral shadow projected on the Earth (not in the sky) from second to third contact, as will be seen from our aircraft, is illustrated IN THIS VIDEO at 17x real-time speed.

Stars brighter than visual magnitude +3.0 are shown where they will appear in the sky at mid-totality from EFLIGHT 2015 MAX.  This, probably, is at or beyond the limit of visual perception - but ultimately depends upon the depth of darkness of the sky  during totality (illustrated darker than expected), which is difficult to predict.

Naked-Eye Planets:

(1) Looking eastward to an azimuth angle of 97°, at nearly the same elevation angle above the horizon as the eclipses Sun, Venus will shine brilliantly at magnitude -4.0 and will become visible to the unaided eye during the "totality run" several minutes before the onset of totality. 

(2)  Mars, 130x fainter than Venus  at visual magnitude +1.3, will be a bit more of a challenge, but during totality should be visible at an azimuth angle of 110° at very nearly the same elevation above the horizon as the eclipsed Sun.

(3) Mercury will be nearly diametrically opposed to the Mars in the sky, with respect to the Sun, at an azimuth angle of 152°, a bit closer to the horizon (elevation angle 14°) but  brighter than Mars by a factor of x 2.5 (visual magnitude -0.34).

Aurorae?  To date, there are no (known) reports of any aurorae witnessed during a TSE - though such is possible with a dark enough sky at high latitudes, if solar activity is high and conditions right for an aurora. The northern hemisphere auroral oval (the location in the Earth's geomagnetic field at the ionosphere where aurora are most likely to occur, passes very close to eastern Iceland where we will be observing TSE 2015.  While not "expected", if conditions are "right" ... who knows (but we'll keep an eye on it!)?