I have always been fascinated by eclipses: ephemeral astronomical phenomena, unique and deeply exciting. Witnessing a total solar eclipse, seeing night fall in broad daylight, noticing how it gets cold and everything goes quiet for a few minutes... It's a magical experience!
Over the years, I have been lucky to witness several eclipses, both solar and lunar. And on two very special occasions, I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the experience with Xavier Jubier, our insider and eclipse specialist.
Xavier is an eclipse hunter who goes where no one has been before to spend as much time as possible under the umbral shadow. He developed his own software to calculate the circumstances of each eclipse with maximum precision and to create interactive maps, a tool used nowadays all over the world, including NASA. Xavier, a member of the International Astronomical Association Working Group on Solar Eclipses, is always ready for a new adventure!
Together with Xavier, I have been able to admire two total solar eclipses.
The first was in 2008, when we traveled to the Gobi Desert, in China. We built a camp in the middle of nowhere just to admire this phenomenon. The clear skies allowed us to witness the entire eclipse.
Years later, in 2017, I traveled with my family to Idaho (United States), to Virgin Galactic’s future astronauts camp, where we met with Xavier. In addition to enjoying a wide range of activities and conferences, we were able to see the total eclipse in its entirety, and in a unique setting. It was a fantastic experience!