Monday, December 04, 2017

2017 Solar Eclipse NASA Frequencies


   A rare natural phenomenon that occurred on August 21st, 2017 brought a lot of attention. A total solar eclipse, where the moon blocks the suns light for a short time, was visible across the United States. This was the first total solar eclipse that had been visible in the continental United States since 1979. I was fortunate enough to be very near the “path of totality”, that is the line along which the eclipse crossed the United States, plunging a narrow strip the earth in near total darkness for a few minutes in the middle of the day.

   There was tremendous media buildup prior to the eclipse, and there was concern by public safety agencies in the areas where the eclipse was going to pass, that the large crowds would be an issue.
In addition to the huge crowds, there was a large response of scientific researchers on hand to observe and record the eclipse. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had multiple aircraft flying, including their WB-57 high-altitude research planes, up “chasing” parts of the eclipse as it crossed over the country. NASA provided continuous media coverage of the eclipse as it moved from the Pacific Ocean on to the Oregon coast. NASA has an excellent web site set up with all things about the eclipse and what they were doing with it: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov

   Here is a list of likely VHF and UHF aircraft frequencies that would be used by NASA aircraft. Listeners in other regions of the country have confirmed some of these as in use by NASA aircraft, particularly by the NASA fleet aircraft that fly between NASA facilities in Houston, Florida and California. Keep these in your scanner and see what you hear:

123.1250
123.4500
135.8250
230.5000         AM                 NASA WB-57
235.4000
259.6500
259.6750
259.7000         AM                 NASA Gulfstream III doing live TV reports
259.7250
260.7500
260.7750
261.6250
264.0500
278.9500
278.9750
279.0000
279.0250
296.7000
296.7750
296.8000
296.8250
314.6000
320.7000
382.6000

   Besides NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) flew some aircraft to observe and record the eclipse. I did not have any luck catching the NOAA air traffic on any agency specific air-to-ground frequencies, at least in the Portland, OR area. 


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