Video Shows Solar Eclipse From Alaska Airlines Flight
Video shows Solar Eclipse from Alaska Airlines flight
Millions of people on Earth were treated to views of a solar eclipse on Tuesday, but only a select few got to see the cosmic event from the sky. Nearly 150 passengers got a special treat - a close look at the solar eclipse - after the airline they had chosen rerouted their flight for a better view. Alaska Airlines shared video of the solar eclipse as seen from 35,000 feet (about 10,660 km) on Flight 870 from Anchorage to Honolulu. The flight left Anchorage on Tuesday around 2 p.m. local time. The eclipse peaked around 4:38 p.m. local time.
This flight allowed lucky passengers to get a look at the relatively rare alignment of the sun, Earth and moon from the comfort of an airplane seat. Seeing the eclipse from the sky also gives watchers the chance to be above the clouds, which can obscure views for people on land.
Over a year ago, Joe Rao, an associate astronomer at the American Museum of Natural History, discovered the Alaska Airlines flight would intersect the “path of totality” during the eclipse. Based on his information, Alaskan Airlines then decided to organize a new plan for the flight to intercept the eclipse. Rao and a dozen other “eclipse chasers” were on Tuesday’s flight to observe the solar event from 35,000 feet (about 10,660 km).
Alaska Airlines specifically delayed the flight in order to provide passengers with the best view possible of the total eclipse. "It’s an unbelievably accommodating gesture,” said Mike Kentrianakis, solar eclipse project manager for the American Astronomical Society. “Not only is Alaska Airlines getting people from Point A to Point B, but they’re willing to give them an exciting flight experience. An airline that’s actually talking to their people – and listening! That’s customer service at its best. It’s become personal.”
Solar eclipses occur when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, casting a shadow on the planet as it blocks the light from the star. If you missed this eclipse, don't despair, another solar eclipse will rise this year. On Sept. 1, an annular eclipse will make the sun look like a "ring of fire" above parts of southern Africa, the Pacific Ocean and other areas. And in 2017, a total solar eclipse will darken the skies above much of the continental United States in what is being billed as one of the most impressive solar eclipses in recent memory.
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