Short Film




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.


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 launched on April 8, 2024, the day of the once in a millennia total solar eclipse. The path of totality of the eclipse was 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 views 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 eclipse. With David’s leadership, a core scientific engineering team of volunteers from across the country collaborated with two groups of engineering students from the University of New Brunswick and current and retired UNB faculty members to design the payload components that enabled the telescopic capturing of imagery during 2024’s total solar eclipse. Many additional community members from various backgrounds enthusiastically volunteered to support this unique project in various roles, from recovery specialists to commercial pilots.

The launch of the balloon on April 8 2024 served as a focal point for interest in eclipse viewing in New Brunswick, attracting thousands of stargazers from near and far, including Canadian astronaut, author and public speaker Colonel Chris Hadfield. 

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 and returned to live at the site of the family farm in his home town upon retirement.

Retrograde explores not only the balloon project, but examines the humble yet driven scientist who came full circle in his own life to make the project a reality.




Director & Producer: Sandy Hunter
Camera & Post Production: Xaviar Johnson

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