Chasing the total eclipse

NASA funded a mission for two jet planes to follow the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21.
8:38 | 07/31/17

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Transcript for Chasing the total eclipse
Hi guys I'm in a nod here live in New York while the total solar eclipse is just three weeks away. If you haven't yet made your plans for viewing you can almost two minutes right here at or on ABC news apple have full coverage right here. He went every year viewing plans. They will not be as good as this guy's joining us live right now is dawn Darrow he is this special equipment operator who's going on and NASA funded mission. Basically chased the darkness that watching the eclipse unfold from the sky missing at eighty so much for being with us. They can drive me. So tell us a little bit about this mission and what. Makes it so unique. Well this mission we're gonna fly to RWB 57 aircraft and LT 50000 feet of right and it eclipse. To extend the time that we can actually do research and eclipse we have two large nose cameras with special filters inside and will be doing. We'll be doing some different hue the physics. When put trust that he puts up post process the news comes out so. In that the jacked up behind you right now when at this specially retrofitted jets it's going to be flying on this mission. This man it's a WB BD seven F there's three of them in the world. Will premiere in this hearing now. And that is why didn't altitudes in excess of 64000. So maybe we just saw the camera pan over a little bit we saw the front right there than nose was covered up but that is where. He's incredible telescopes have been retrofitted right and basically you are going to have and then minute. To capture as many images as you can and of the sun's atmosphere during the total solar plants why that's so important and why is this the clips. Silly me an opportunity to do. I guess men the the two aircraft. Caroling intend to more have just under seven just over seven minutes with. Both clips and we will have tremendous opportunity to be able to see. The atmosphere of the of the sun. Basically. This particular eclipse is very important because. We have the technology known we have and it's why is going right over the United States. We have the ability amount be able to you all all kinds of physics that we weren't able to see before. They sensors are better we have better placement and it's going to be. Perfect cup. So that generic I'm a little bit about what York specific role will be during this mission in what is the flight path. And he really you have a very narrow margin of error right I mean it is a long time you'll get to witness the eclipse longer than most people on the ground. But that's all you've got are those seven minutes right. Yes ramp about half of that sort minutes I'll be in the first aircraft. Two to get underneath the eclipse. Albeit a back seat in the back seat is where these sensors for the aircraft operated the front seat it's. And here I. Sole job in this is going to be to get great images of the eclipse for the scientists. So tell the government how those images are going to be used and you know it's unprecedented to get this equality of imagery to have this kind of length of time. To take those images of one think that help us understand. Well ma'am the the atmosphere the sun is is well understood. If it's much harder in the court and then some of the other letters that are underneath the sun. And and we're trying to figure out why that is. And these images they're gonna help us understand. With between the menus here and the and it's in the other costs and medium known. Why that is. And you also get a very unique opportunity to take some images of Mercury Wright Tommie Liddell that I what you hope to learn. From that. This man. Well we're have or traveling out there we have some opportunities to image retreat the the interesting thing about that is that we we don't see Mercury as. We we don't have a good understanding of what it. What the temperatures are between the light side. And the dark side we have. We look understanding what temperatures are in the extremes but not. How they graduate going around as the as Mercury rotates. How well that he is retained. And and and what the I'm mr. might be like there are temperatures. So let's take a look at this debt because this is something very very cool palace a little bit about it if you can show us around a little bit too because most people won't get a chance to see that. Up close in Perth and beautiful tour at the cat. This man. This is the W and F model. Idiocy. Variation. It's is a variation of the British Canberra this. And this is the is EF model this would it this airframe. It was built in the late fifties but the was modified to an F model in the sixties. It been flying. And this particular aircraft flying ever since the it's got out a lot more hours and has built more on it. The wings are 120 feet six inches long with just over 2000 square feet of wing surface area. It. This time it's piloted by. An experienced pilot. Either piled skewed or are heavy bomber pilot former military generally. And we fly at altitudes in excess of 65000 feet and we have to actually we're pressure suits we go back hide because the the be just like you two guys we have seen the same physiological problems that would have the pressure in the outside our blood boil. And we have a lot of lot of issues. You said that very casually by the way our blood might collapse that we have to be you have to be careful. Let me ask you can't have you flown on missions like this before I would this kind of pressure to deliver often those that and it's like this is your one chance. To get those images how are you feeling going into the mission. Actually we we get these emissions fairly regularly review lot of rocket a sense where we. We'll actually record isn't pocket if we don't get that we certainly don't get the video. I'm so those are actually shorter time frames and we don't have nearly as much time to plan. However this mission does have a lot more visibility. And we're very aware of that and we are planning. We're planning everything down in the second we will have between the two aircraft that are be flying we will have coordination view radios and equipment via a sack on system. And we'll have people on the ground ready to assist us that he had any issues. And your flight path includes flying over our Missouri Illinois way Tennessee right you're going to be catching it as a travels over the eastern portion. Of the continental US you'll have. One of the best seats to history. Do you think you'll be able to enjoy any part of it and you go. I was on the and try many of the we won't have those issues. And I'm certainly are trying to sneak peek we will let me there'd did for the job we'll be there to catch the clips for the scientists. But I'm certainly are trying to keep like him. There was today are partly to gun up for all the folks back here on earth who are going to be watching from the ground. What do you wanna tell them about the total solar eclipse why should they be excited to witness and it whenever form a cat. Well it's a fantastic opportunity C a solar phenomenon. It's it's just it doesn't happen very often and need to get out there and see it as this can be great. On right on there the special equipment operator on the NASA funded mission. To witness the total solar eclipse in and away we happen before mr. there thank you so much for being with us today. And thanks to you for joining us as well remember if you can't get out and watch the total solar eclipse on your own. Joining us right yet on ABC news that we will have full coverage of the clips right here thanks for watching for now I'm on an Abbas about the Mac you're in.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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