Camera Attached to Weather Balloon Captures Footage of Airliner Flying By

Photographer Edouard Janssens recently sent a weather balloon equipped with a Sony NEX-5 and a GoPro HD to the edges of space. While this isn’t exactly a novel idea, the GoPro camera managed to capture footage of a jet airliner whizzing by at roughly the same altitude!

The photographs he managed to capture are pretty amazing as well.

Blackness 2 [Project Stratos-Sphere]

  • Anonymous

    I bet someone was quite confused when they looked out of their window….

  • will hall

    Considering the perspective of the wide angle lens granted by the gopro, that seems mighty close to me. Do these things not need some sort of clearance?

  • John Vito

    Geez… wouldn’t like if the ballon got sucked into the jet’s engine.

  • Al

    Can this bring down a plane?  What is the FAA’s stance on this?  It is cool photography but seems extraordinarily irresponsible to me.

  • Bob

    I have not tried the experiment for this very reason. Too scared of the worse case scenario.

  • Scott Mains

    I know in the UK that things like balloons both manned and unmanned have automatic right of way as they can’t be directed in the typical manner that other aircraft do. Remembering back to the days when I was learning in a Cessna 172, I believe that if an aircraft is on a constant bearing towards another object/aircraft, the one with full control will have to bank left, avoiding a collision. Also weather balloons are huge, generally silver or white and can be seen from a few miles away… plenty of time for pilot to react. 

  • Anonymous

    Scary indeed. However there are tens of thousands of similar balloons crossing flight altitude every year yet there isn’t a single report (afaik) of collision. In most countries there is no sort of clearance needed but it’s probably a good idea to check with a local air navigation authority before flying one of those things.

  • Igor Carron


    Back in 2006, we flew a Canon PowerShot S3 IS camera on a high altitude balloon that flew up for more than 18 hours. The camera was set in full zoom looking down. The camera was a 6 Mega Pixel camera that allowed for a 10X optical zoom.

    We automatically stitched all the 4GB of data using autopano pro and this yielded the following breathtaking pano shots:
    For instance

    We also got jets:

    All the photos are here:

    We also compared our data with satellite photos:

    If anybody is interested in making photos with a better camera they can apply to this program:

  • Mike

    Does anyone else think this is completely fake?  So many reasons, can’t even be bothered to start.

  • Ian

    That was my initial thoughts. Maybe I have just seen too many fakes on the internet. 

  • Camera Mart

    Do jets really fly that high? I always wondered how they get the cameras back.

  • Scott Mains

    Looks legit. The speed of the passing jet isn’t too fast or slow and given that it runs in a constant direction and there is no movement of the aircraft when the camera body is moved would show no real reason for it to be a fake. The curvature of the earth, keeping in mind that these Go Pro units operate with a very wide angle of view, is to be expected. Most of the base jumping videos show some distortion from higher heights. I wouldn’t like to hazard a guess at the distance, but I’ll take a stab in the dark with no mathematical backing… jet probably boeing 737 or 747, so between 45 and 75 meters in length and taking up a tiny proportion of the frame so would be at least a kilometre away form the balloon. Most jetliners typically cruise up to 16.5k and weather balloons can reach much higher (can’t be assed to look at numbers now)… my two cents. blah…fo realz yo.


    It is not fake. Just lucky.