Want to watch the upcoming total solar eclipse from 35,000 feet?
Where will you be on Aug. 21 to watch the total solar eclipse? What’s being called the Great American Eclipse will be visible coast to coast on a diagonal path from Oregon to South Carolina — and some lucky fliers will see it from their seats too.
Alaska Airlines has scheduled an invitation-only flight for “astronomy enthusiasts and eclipse-chasers” to be the first to witness the eclipse. The flight will leave 7:30 a.m. from Portland, Ore., and fly around 35,000 feet in elevation above the coast, far above any clouds that could get in the way.
The airline kicked off a contest Saturday open to anyone in the U.S. who wants a shot at two seats on the eclipse flight.
To enter, make a 30-second video that reveals how much of “an AvGeek or SpaceGeek” you are and upload it to the contest’s website by 11:59 p.m. PDT Aug. 7.
You can also plan a DIY eclipse-in-the-air experience by timing a commercial flight to destinations along the eclipse’s path of totality, the time when the moon moves into position and completely blocks out the sun.
Southwest Airlines announced Saturday that many of its regularly scheduled Aug. 21 flights may offer spectacular eclipse views. Its planners identified these routes with “greatest likelihood” of seeing the eclipse from the sky.:
Fight 1375, departing 9:05 a.m. from Seattle to St. Louis.
Flight 1368, departing 9:05 a.m. from Portland, Ore., to St. Louis.
Fight 1577, departing 10:30 a.m. from Denver to St. Louis.
Flight 301, departing 10:30 a.m. from Denver to Nashville.
Flight 1969, departing 9:50 a.m. from Denver to Atlanta
If you’re on one of those flights, Southwest will give you viewing glasses (the protective paper eyewear type) and souvenir while serving up “cosmic cocktails.”
What’s it like to see a total solar eclipse from on high? Watch the video above — and listen to the excitement in the voice of Mike Kentrianakis of the American Astronomical Society. who was flying during a total solar eclipse on March 8, 2016.
He was on board an Alaska Airlines flight whose path from Anchorage to Honolulu was adjusted to offer great views of the eclipse.
For information on the upcoming eclipse, go to Solar Eclipse Across America’s website.
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