Retrograde

Status

Production

Format

Short Film

Genre

Documentary


LOGLINE:

Astronomer David Hunter and his team develop and test a high-tech solar balloon capable of capturing unique images of 2024’s once in a millennia total solar eclipse over his hometown, Florenceville-Bristol, New Brunswick, Canada.

SYNOPSIS:

David Hunter, upon retiring from his career as a medical physicist, returned to his New Brunswick home town to pursue his life long passion for astronomy via a unique, home brew scientific effort, the Balloon Solar Eclipse Project.

Hunter and his team’s custom purpose high-tech solar balloon will launch on April 8, 2024, the day of the once in a millennia total solar eclipse. The path of totality of the eclipse will be directly above Florenceville-Bristol, New Brunswick. As a New Brunswicker and a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Hunter realized that the chance of poor weather obscuring viewing of the eclipse was a real threat, so the solar balloon project was conceived.

Meticulously planned and engineered, the balloon was tested over the course of several launches from Florenceville during 2023 in the lead up to the spring eclipse. With David’s leadership, a core science engineering team of volunteers from across the country has been collaborating with two groups of engineering students from the University of New Brunswick—with the support of their faculty members—to design the payload components that will enable the telescopic capturing of the imagery of 2024’s total solar eclipse. Many additional community members from various backgrounds have also enthusiastically volunteered to support this unique project in various roles, including, notably, two licensed commercial pilots.

The project represents a full circle not only for the celestial bodies in play, but for Hunter himself, who built his first home made telescope at his parents farm in 1968.

WATCH THE TEST VIDEOS

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SOLAR BALLON PROJECT


CREDITS:

Producer: Sandy Hunter
Camera & Post Production: Xaviar Johnson

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