Alaska Airlines was good enough to redirect Flight #870 from Anchorage to Honolulu last Tuesday (March 8, 2016) so that passengers could enjoy a view of a total solar eclipse from 35,000 feet in the air. The result was spectacular, as you can see from the video above, which is by Mike Kentrianakis of the American Astronomical Society. Notice the beginning of the video, when the moon’s shadow is moving across the cloudtops, toward the camera!
The change in flight plans started a year ago, when astronomer Joe Rao – associate astronomer at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium – realized that the eclipse’s path would intersect with his flight path — almost half an hour before his flight arrived, according to Alaska Airlines blog.
Rao called the airline, and officials decided to adjust the flight so passengers could experience the eclipse from the air.
The flight held about a dozen astronomers and eclipse chasers, along with about 150 other passengers.
Way to go, Alaska Airlines!
By the way, in the video, you’ll see many shining points besides the sun. These aren’t really objects in the sky. They are lens flares, internal reflections from the video camera. Read more about lens flare here.
Bottom line: For the March 8, 2016 total solar eclipse, Alaska Airlines redirected a flight … and the result is this spectacular video.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.