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An Eclipse First: Wingsuit Skydivers Take Flight During Total Solar Eclipse (Video)

During the Great American Solar Eclipse on Monday (Aug. 21), 10 professional wingsuit jumpers leapt from a plane and soared into the darkness just seconds before totality began in Oregon. 

Video footage of the jump – the first time skydivers in wingsuits did a coordinated jump during a total solar eclipse – was released on YouTube. It shows the crew leaping out of the plane over Madras, Oregon, at 10:18 a.m. PDT (1718 GMT). Each wingsuit pilot wore a GoPro camera to capture footage of the event.

The video offers a first-person perspective of one of the jumpers as he falls from an altitude of about 14,000 feet (4,300 meters). Below is a view of farm fields and a river; above is the eclipsing sun, with its corona peeking out from behind the moon. [See Amazing Photos of the Total Solar Eclipse from 40,000 Feet!]

In subsequent shots, the camera view catches up with five other wingsuit jumpers below, including one who is facing the sky while falling toward Earth. Then the skydivers fly in formation in the shadow of the moon. 

The video ends with a parachute deployed in darkness, and the camera-wielding wingsuiter raises his hands in triumph.

"The idea of flying 10 wingsuits into a solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime event, one I'm glad to be doing with this incredibly talented group of individuals," Marshall Miller, a professional wingsuit pilot who took part in the jump, said in a statement. [The Most Epic Photos of the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse]

"I try to make the most of these special occasions. I want to do something on these days to actually remember them specifically for something we did on that day, more so than something we saw," he added.

The short clip, released by Outside TV, is a preview of a longer video. A behind-the-scenes feature, called "Solar Formation," will air at a later date (to be announced) on the Outside TV Network.

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Elizabeth Howell
Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is pursuing a Ph.D. part-time in aerospace sciences (University of North Dakota) after completing an M.Sc. (space studies) at the same institution. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @HowellSpace.